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Charitable nature of Hindus — Comparison between English and Indian 
pauperism — Will India need a poor law P — Problem of support of 
pauper life in the East — Professional beggars — Native charity 
being indiscriminate, much utterly wasteful — The Hindu family 
system — Christianity and pauperism — Would the Christianism of 
India render poor law ineyitableP — Reasons for a belief in the 
affirmative — How this may be avoided — English Church systems 
unsuitable for India — ^Two courses open to the Indian Government 
— ^Panaceas against fiimine « 1-9 



General effort prior to appeal to England — I. Bombay— Effort at Sho« 

lapur — Normal poverty — Labour at the Morarjee Goculdass Mills 

— Public meeting at a Parsee Baronet's house — Mode of relief 

through selling grain without profit — Formation of the Deccan and 

Eiiandeish committee— Meetings at Ahmednuggur and Poena — 

Speech by Lord Mark Eer — The Sarvajanik Sabha — The Bombay 

cattle saving fund — Mr. Morarjee Goculdass an Indian of the 

right sort — First establishment in Sholapur of day nurseries — 

Infantile dignity and independence — A comparison by a Native 

^ Journal — A good Sunday's work — Inside a day nursery; food 

CC distribution in the evening — Scenes on the roadside — Pilgrimage 

^yp^ over at eleven P.ic. — Aid to distressed agriculturists — ^The Sarvsr 



janik Sabha's distributing agencies — The Bombay anna fand — 
The Maharaja Scindia's bounty — The Hon. Mr. Gibbs's depreciation 
of private charity (11-26) — II. Madras — Private efforts in Madras 
city in October-December, 1876 — Generosity of doubtful value, 
food being inferior — The town 'relief placed under police adminis- 
tration — ^Efforts in the large towns of the Presidency — Scheme of 
the President of the Municipal Commission — Assisting Gosha 
females — Voluntary taxation of rice traders at Cuddapah — Desire 
to commit suicide without offending the Deity or the Rev. J. 
Davies Thomas — Government moiety to private subscriptions — 
Instructions to native officials by Mr. Pennington — Belief in a fitful 
fashion (16-34) — III. Mysoi'e — Private and Government operations 
proceeding side by side 10-34 



Meeting of the directors of the Monegar Choultry — ^Great suffering 
among the high caste poor reported — Question referred to Govern- 
ment, and by Government passed on to Municipal Commission — 
Subscriptions to be sought from the public — Mistake in agency em- 
ployed — A desultory discussion — Fulfilling one^s duty to the poor 
— Formation of dght divisional committees — Proposal for an 
appeal to England negatived — ^Prosecution of the idea by mover — 
Rasolution for submission to committee — Obstacles interposed — 
Meeting held — Reasons urged for appealing to England — Requisition 
to the Sheriff of Madras — Resolutions passed — Telegram to The 
Times — Nomination of executive committee and other officials — 
Draft appeal by the Bishop of Madras — The movement in England 
hangs for want of a start — Meeting of executive committee — 
Urgent appeal sent to Lord Mayor of London and several provincial 
mayors — Initiation of the movement by Sir Thomas White — ^The 
first *cash' contribution — Subscriptions from the Royal family, 
'Old Indians,' and others — ^Appointment of Mansion House com- 
mittee — Response to the appeal in India — The good example of 
Baroda — Deliberations of general committee as to objects of relief — 
Definition of objects — Attempt to form local committees in the 
Mofussil — Stoppage of proposed meeting in Calcutta — Misapprehen*^ 
sions of Government of India — Indignation and excitement in 
Madras — Act XVI. of 1877 — An Act against humanitarian prac- 
tice — ^The Viceroy's arrival at Madras — A conversation on the 
railway platform — Lord Lytton and private charity — ^Defiant 
attitude and messages of the executive committee — 'Action of 
Supreme Government unaccountable ' — The question of private 
charity forced upon the Viceroy and the Duke — Message to Lord 
Mayor of London — The Gazette of India Extraordinary : collection 
of private subscriptions — Unsatisfactory correspondence — Aid to 
Bombay and Mysore — Appointment of delegates to distressed 



districts — Good work of relief committees — Usefulness of Sessions 
Judges — Proportionate allotment of funds — Task of organisation 
complete — Prompt distribution advocated — Prospects of the season 
— ^Donation of 10,000 rs. from the Viceroy .... S5-83 



Simple procedure of the Manmon House committee — ^Telegrams from 
Madras committee to London — Sympathy of subscribers — Letter 
from Miss Florence Nightingale—- Appeal to United Kingdom of 
Mansion House conunittee — Sources of supply — ^Incidents of gene- 
rod ty — ' Isn't the &mine over yet, Aimtie P I think it is ' — Money 
received at the rate of 10,000/. per day — ' A splendid instance of 
national sympathy ' — ^Letter from the Governor of Madras — Stop- 
page of subscriptions on November 5 — Oordiality between collect- 
ing and disbursing committees • • 84-96 


Eager response to appeal from Lancashire — Broadness of sympathy 
— Letter from Mr. Steinthal — Practical views regarding prevention 
of famines — Amount contributed — The Bolton and Blackburn 
contributions — Letter from the Bishop of Manchester — A good 
example by the emplayis of the Rhodes Printing Works — Sugges- 
tions from Blackburn 96-^ 


Great interest in Edinburgh — ^Energetic efforts of Lord Napier and 
Ettrick, and Dr. George Smith — Public meetings — Formation of 
committee — Review of work done, with description of means used 
— Amounts contributed by private charity in previous famines — 
Glasgow and Greenock contributions 00-105 


Movement in Australia — Meetings at Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, 
and elsewhere — Contribution per head of population — Great gene- 
rosity of the Australian people — Incidents in coilection in South 
Australia — Largest individual donation from Victoria— Other 
colonies contributing — Donation of 51/. from the Norfolk Is- 
landers 105-109 


Donations from Native Princes — Regimental contributions . .109 




Donations from the Boyal family, wealthy Oompanies, &c. — Suhecrip- 
' tions from towns in Qreat Britain — ^The Colonies — Church and 
Chapel collections over 100/. 110-119 




Record of labours of local committees very voluminous — Mode of 
distribution adopted in Tripature and Uttengerry taluks — Copy 
of instructions to relief agents prepared by the Dindigul com- 
mittee — ^Testimony of the Government of India to the good work 
done hy the various committees — ^Nature of relief afforded : in Din- 
digul, in Coimbatore, taluk by taluk — Extortion by village officials 
discovered and checked in Trichinopoly — ^Interesting reports from 
relief agents in Kalastri — Decayed gentry in Tanjore — Distri- 
bution in Mysore — A page from a delegate's note book (F. Row- 
landson) — Scenes by the wayside (Rev. J. Herrick) — Extreme 
wretchedness (F. Rowlandson) — A day's work by an honorary sec- 
retary (Rev. J. E. Clough) — ^Difficulties in distribution (Rev. E. 
Lewis)— Taluk trimnvirates (W.H. Glenny) — ^An audacious sugges- 
tion (F. Rowlandson) — Suffering among classes beyond the scope of 
Government operations (Dr. Cornish) — ^Horrors of the famine (W. 
Yorke) — ^Female nakedness (F. Rowlandson) — ^Insect pests in the 
fields— The patience of the people (E. Forster Webster) — Disap- 
pointments; gratitude (Rev. J. E. Clough) — Gratitude (Rev. T. 
P. Adolphus) — Extortion by village officials (W. H. Glenny) — 
Dislike to relief camps (F. Rowlandson) — The goodness of the 
poor towards each other (Dr. Cornish) — Practical Help (W. A. 
Howe) — ^Personal investigation of relief lists (J. Lee Warner) — 
The inadequacy of funds (1. W. Yorke, 2. J. Lee Warner) — A 
lively sense of gratitude (Dr. Cornish) — Absurd scenes (W. H. 
Glenny) — ^Unselfish children (F, Rowlandson) — A selfish reason 
(F. Rowlandson) — Typical cases of distress (Rev. J. M. Stra- 
chan) — ^Real charity by the taluk triumvirate (W. H. Glenny) — 
Evil of indiscriminate charity (W. H. Glenny) — Scene in a relief 
camp (Rev. J. H. Strachan) — From drought to deluge (J. Lee 
Warner) 120-164 





Different opinions as to quantity necessary — The Debar experience 
of 187S-4 — The Duke of Argyll favouring the larger estimate — 
Dombay arrangement of Frofesdonal and 01^11 Agency rates — 
Madras Doard of Revenue estimate — 1 J lbs. of grain and a moiety 
for condiments prescribed — Madras Government raise minimum to 
li lbs. plus moiety — ^Argument by Mr. Price in favour of high 
allowance of 2 lbs. per diem — Sir Richard Temple's proposal to 
reduce the ration — Objections of the Madras Government-- Adop- 
tion of the rate as an experiment 165-174 



Great outcry against the 1-lb. ration — Protest hy Dr. Cornish — State- 
ment of enquiries made in past years in India — Physiological 
needs of the adult human body — Effect of insufficient food — Re- 
sult of insufficient nutriment not immediately apparent — Difficulty 
of recovering the starving — Sir Richard Tetnpl^s reply — ^The argu- 
ment for economy pressed — Abstract scientific theories of little 
use, as Indian populations have existed though neglecting them — 
The practical question stated — The ration declared to be equal to 
the work done on it — ^The ration intended for an individual, not 
to be shared with non-workers — Preconceived phy^ological 
theories derided — Sir Richard TempU^s further reply — Result of 
examining the ' Madras Manual of Hygiene ' — Experience of sol- 
diers alleged to favour reduced ration — Also the ration of the 
British soldier in troop-ships — ^Dr. Oomish's motives com- 
mended — The Sanitary Commissioner's rejoinder — Complaint in Dr. 
Cornish's covering letter — The two courses before the Sanitary 
Commissioner — ^The Delegate of 1877 contrasted with the Delegate 
of 187^-4 — Inconsistency proved — European experience not ftilly 
trusted to — ^Indian enquiries available — ^Protest against experiments 
on laige bodies of people on works — Sudden changes and fluc- 
tuations in the personnel of gangs — Sun<\ay wage and sustenance 
for non-workers granted — The anticipated saving by new scheme 
not probable — Results of careful experiment — Weighings indicate 
much wasting — The scientific argument tested — General ex- 
perience an unsafe guide — The dietary of native soldiers on 
foreign service a mistake — Terrible sickness in the Burmese 
wars — Mistake in the ' Madras Manu&I of Hygiene ' — Half rations 
and the result — Actual facts furnished by the famine — Effect of 
privation on the people — Death-rate in Madras and other camps — 



Mortality in famine districts — Mortality in mimidpalilies — ^Re- 
gistered deaths — ^Two points of view: the health officials the 
commanding officers — Short reply of Sir Richard Temple. — Aid to 
non- workers and the Sunday wage alvmys contemplated — Sir 
Richard satisfied from personal investigation the reduced ration 
was sufficient — Seeing is believing — Distinction between people 
employed on works and in camps — ^If the ration proved insuf- 
ficient Sir Richard ready to remove it — ' Last words ' by Dr. 
Cornish 176-210 




Consideration by the Madras authorities of the working of the 
reduced ration — ^Decision deferred for further enquiry and in- 
vestigation — Orders for special care to be taken of people who 
were failing in condition — Discretion allowed to responsible 
officers — Reports on the ration ; 1. W. H. Glenny ; 2. Dr. Cor- 
nish; 3. Surgeon-Major Ross; ^4. W. B. Oldham; 6. W. H. 
Glenny; 6. J. H. Master; 7. C. Raghava Rao; 8. Murugesem 
MudaUyar; 9. Dr. Cornish; 10. Surgeon W. G. King; 11. F. J. 
Price ; 12. R. S. Benson ; 13. E. V. Beeby ; 14. J. D. Gribble ; 16. 
R. W. Barlow ; 16. Dr. Cornish — ^A Bombay Journalist's opinion — 
Sfwrgeon-Major TownaemTa Report — History of the rations adopted 
in Madras — Question not to be decided on physiological grounds — 
Want of accurate information in India — Inspection of labourers 
on works at Adoni, Bellary, Cuddapah, and Vellore — Conclusion 
come to that the wage should not be raised — Surgeon-Major LyorCs 
Memorandum — Diet tables and food analyses — Dr, Cornishes 
reply to Mr, Lyon — Relation between weight and capacity for 
assimilating food — * Yond' Cassius has a lean and hungry look ' — 
Incorrect issues raised — Dietary difficulties in Madras jails — Con- 
dition of people subjected to slow starv-ation — Subsistence scale of 
diet perilously low — Public opinion opposed to continuance of 
low ration — Order of Madras Government rmsing the ration — 
Evidence in favour of reduced ration — ^Testimony of Bombay 
Officers ; 1. R E. Candy ; 2. T. S. Hamilton ; 3. A. F. Woodburn ; 
4. A. B. Fforde; 5. Apaji Raogi; 6. E. P. Robertson— Con- 
clusion of Bombay Government that Profesdonal and Civil Agency 
rates safe and sufficient . ' 211-246 



The two opinions held about sufficiency of 1-lb. ration — The question 
yet to be decided — Experience of the Poor Fund committee at 



Belgaimi — A good day*8 work for a good day's wage— A parallel 
with England — Sufficient wage from an economic point of view — 
Sir Bartle Frsre on the effects of priyation on individuals — Famine 
policy tested by proportion of deaths ..... 247-252 


Contribution to Times of India on the result of an experiment with 
reduced ration in Bombay prisons 263-256 


Correspondence between Dr. Cornish and Sir R Christison on the 
sufficiency of the Temple wage and ration .... 256>260 


Quantity of grain imported by sea — Conveyance to the distressed 
districts — ^The Hailwajs proved the saviour of Southern India — 
Arrangements made for special traffic — ^The late Chairman of the 
London and North Western Railway — His Grace's control of the 
traffic — Dissatisfaction of the mercantile community — Statement 
of the mercantile case — Increased price of grain owing to defec- 
tive arrangements — What was expected in August 1877 of the 
railways — Quantities of grain carried — Illustrative tabular re- 
turns — Railway extension an important feature in the famine 
policy of the future 261-272 


Government unable to profitably compete with private trade — ^Its 
duty confined to making a good road, keeping an honest police- 
man, and finding the people means of purchasing . . . 273-278 


A district's management of its famine problem — Coimbatore taken 
as example — ^Preparations at the end of 1876 — Road repairs and 
sanitary improvement — Effisrts of private charity at an early 
stage — Closed camps; their drawbacks — ^Pressure upon Govern- 
ment officers — Practice adopted for relief purposes generally — 
Luxuries preferred to necessaries — Relief camp imprisonment — 



The object and aims of a relief camp (as described in Mr. Elliott^s 
Famine Code) — Only cooked food given — Working of a camp — 
Duties of officers in charge — Narrative of Camp Mismanagement 
by a Non-Qfficial Gentleman — A typical camp under native con- 
trol — Bad feeding arrangements — A caste dispute — ^A day in 
camp bad for the caste people but good for the remainder — Sham 
applicants for relief— A village official caught pilfering — Loot of 
provisions not given out — Cheating with corpses — European 
supervision necessary in all camps — Quantity of food for sick 
subject, of much discussion — Report of two SurgeoruhGeneral (Drs, 
Gordon and G, Smith) — A higher ration recommended — The 
terrible mortality in camps — Evidence furnished by camps in (1) 
Madras, (2) Salem, (3) North Arcot, (4) Cuddapah, (6) Bellary, 
(6) Nellore, (7) Chingleput, (8) Kurnool — Nature of diseases in 
camp — Chronic starvation a very deadly disease — A ludicrous 
incident — Tables showing mortality in camps . . 279-316 


The village relief system in Madras in August 1877 — ^Variety and 
intricacy of means to deiraud — The fear of officials exhibited by 
villagers — The inevitable consequence of trusting village officers — 
Mr. R. Davidson on fraud and the impossibility of checking it — 
The Board of Revenue anticipating fraud — Difficulty of pronng 
extortion — The money dole in villages — Close examination of 
the subject by the Viceroy and his advisers — Some of the means 
(sixteen) employed to deiraud Government — Circumstances under 
which the money dole can be fairly given — Principles of village 
relief 317-329 



Emigration as a panacea — Suggestion of the Marquis of Salisbury 
and Sir Julius Yogel — Emigration ineffectual — ^British Burma as 
a land of relief for Madras — Correspondence between the Burma 
authorities, the Government of India, and the Madras Govern- 
ment — ^Failure of the Burma scheme — ^Emigration to Ceylon — 
Principles on which it is carried out in normal times — Mr. Lee 
Warner on emigration in 1877 — The Ceylon Government wishing 
emigration to be stopped — ^Reply of the Madras Government 331-350 



How Indian famines affect artisans — Oondderation of position of 

weavers — Grants made by Qoyemment from time to time — Letter 

from Mr. Sesbiah Sastri on and to Trichinopolj weavers — Wise 

charitable relief in Krishna district (Rev. A. D. Bowe) — Sir 

Richard Temple and the weavers .... • . 360-357 


Advances made bj the Board of Revenue — Correspondence between 
Qovemment and the Board — Soggeetion of Sir William Bohin- 
8on — Letters and telegrams from collectors — ^Advances made by 
the Board of Revenue — Grants from charitable funds 357-368 


Suggestion by a Bellary firm — Letter of the Board of Revenue — 
Experiments — Condunons arrived at — Experiment in Mysore 368-375 


By Col. Mebrixah, RE. 

Census taken on January 19, 1878 — Nine Collectoxates affected — ^Pur- 
pose of the Census— Results of the Census— Death-rate in 1872 377-384 


Death-rate for the whole Pre^dency — Recorded death-rate during 1877 
— Migration rates — Conclusions come to by the Bombay Govern- 
ment 384-388 


Partial census taken on March 15, 1878— Results — Remarks upon the 
results of the partial census — Times Correspondent's simmiary — 
Subject still «*6jW*ce 388-^94 





Instructions to Sir Richard Temple, Bart., G.C.S.I., as 
Famine Delegate 397-405 


Minute of August 12 by H.E. the Viceroy . 405-422 

KuLEs OF THE New System IN Madras . . . 422-431 


The Indian Famine Relief Fund Receipts and Expendi- 
ture 432-435 

Members of the Mansion House Committee . . 436 


Southern India's Gratitude 437-471 

Day Nurseries 471-473 


Wild Plants and Vegetables used for Food. 

1. Memorandum by Dr. Cornish; 2. List of Plants used in 
Madras Presidency (Dr. Shortt) ; 3. Wild Herbs used in the 
Ealadgi District, Bombay, during the Famine (J. M. Camp- 
bell, B.C.S., and Dr. Wellington Gray) .... 474-489 


Government Relief Operations in the District of Cud- 
DAPAH from February to June 1877 . . . 490-491 


Statement of Prices of Food Grains during the Famine 
1876-77 To faoe 492 


Membebs of tub Exscutiyb Comhitteb of Fahine 

Relief Fund ......... Frontispiece 

Map showing tkb Operations of the Famine Relief 

Fund To face p. 77 

FoBSASSN ! (By permission of the Proprietors of The Gi-apMc) „ 119 

Famine Relief Gamp, Moneoab Choultby, Madras (lithograph) ,, 2'J4 

Page 15, line IZ^fot an enthusiastic Parsec, read an enthusiastic Hindoo 



♦ — 



From a Hindu point of view the exercise of private 
charity in time of distress is a duty incumbent upon 
everyone who has the means wherewith to help his 
brother. In normal times there are no people on the 
face of the earth more given to charity than the Hindus. 
Proof of this is found in the fact that whilst every nation 
in Europe has had to devise some system of Poor Law 
administration whereby to relieve its necessitous poor, 
no approach to anything of the kind has been found 
necessary in India. In the years 1876 to 1878 the 
Indian Government will have expended on famine 
relief the sum of 11,000,000^., that Government having 
rule over 250 millions of people. In England alone, 
during the same period, 21,000,000/. will have been 
spent on Poor Law administration, for less than one 
million of persons per annum. It is a question of 
practical politics whether, in supplanting Indian civilisa- 
tion and religion by European modes of life and govern- 
ment, and by the inculcation of Christianity, something 
similar to the Poor Law of Enffland will not have to be 




adopted in India. The question is now, or is likely 
soon to be, one of practical politics, and nowhere in this 
work could such a question be more fittingly considered 
than on the threshold of an exhibition of private 
charity and practical benevolence unexampled in 
Indian history. 

The problem of support of the poor is a less diffi- 
cult question to deal with in the East than in the West. 
In Oriental lands the means of supporting life are pecu- 
liarly easy. Little food, few clothes, and the minimum 
of fuel are required. Two classes of poor exist, one 
which earns a comfortable livelihood by begging — a 
religious or professional class ; the other, a criminal 
class, which supports a miserable existence by pilfering, 
and which forms one of the sections of the population 
of the jails. In ordinary years full provision for these 
classes is made, and professional beggars obtain a com- 
fortable livelihood. These beggars are a feature of 
Indian life with which all who know anything of India 
must be familiar. Charity being enjoined by religion, 
the beggars make use of the arts of religion in obtaining 
support. Should relief be refused they call down the 
bitterest curses upon the heads of those who refuse, 
until ^ for their much asking' they get what they desire. 
The blot which this causes upon Indian social life is 
manifest. Relief operations are not a matter of system 
but of individual caprice, and, consequently, abuses are 
many, A discriminate form of charity in the shape of 
work-houses, with strict avoidance of all out-door relief, 
would be an advantage, and would tend to reduce the 
evil which now exists. To accomplish this satisfactorily, 
however, one thing is needful which, in the present state 
of native society, it is hopeless to expect. Effort and 
trouble would be required from the more well-to-do 
natives themselves ; co-operation would be necessary 


from the donors of relief. Now, much native charity 
may be utterly wasteful, and the merciful tendencies of 
human nature perverted chiefly because of the false 
system, or no system, on which it is conducted. All 
indiscriminate almsgiving is an aggravation of the evil. 
The house-to-house contributions which are levied by 
the professional beggars, and, generally, are cheerfully 
given, if contributed to a common fund, and its distri- 
bution supervised by a native committee having a due 
sens6 of the trustworthiness demanded of dispensers of 
alms, would be an improvement on the present system. 
Relief in ordinary times, and when poverty is not 
increased, as it is in times of famine by exceptional 
circumstances, might then be confined to the utterly 
destitute and helpless. Industrial occupations might 
also be found for the blind and the lame : basket- 
making, stone-breaking, and the like. Industrial 
manufacture by the blind forms an interesting feature 
of their support in Great Britain. In the Coimbatore 
municipality, in the Presidency of Madras, this system 
is carried out, and the indigent poor have work pro- 
vided for them. The difficulty is ever assuming larger 
dimensions, and will need close and anxious attention 
ere long. 

But it is not with regard to the religious mendicant 
and professional beggars merely that the bright and 
praiseworthy aspects of Hindoo charity are exhibited. 
It is towards those of kindred, however far remote, 
that the most real charity is shown. The Hindu 
family system is such that all aJFection is limited to 
those of one's own kin and concentrated there. The 
family benefits, the nation suff^ers. Such qualities as 
patriotism, earnest care for the public good, and similar 
practices are impossible whilst the family is all and in 
all, and the community a matter of slight concern. Few 

B 2 


national characteristics, whether in Eastern or Western 
countries, have worthier aspects for admiration than 
this family system so far as it goes ; the way in which 
generations are bound together and the kindliest feelings 
of kinship are fostered is worthy of all praise. But 
the system has many defects : it represses individuality, 
cramps personal eifort, and is suited only for a back- 
ward state of ci\"ilisation. The population of India in 
bygone times was kept down by frequent wars and 
periodical famines, which fact accounts for the country 
not being over-populated by a system such as that 
described. Lord Macaulay, Mr. Grant DufF, and others 
believe that the English tongue will become the lingua 
franca of India ; others as firmly believe that Christi- 
anity is destined to supersede all forms of religion now 
in India. Assuredly when the English tongue alone is 
spoken, and the Christian religion is generally professed, 
the difficult problems which are characteristic of Euro- 
pean countries will be encountered in India. 

* It is not a little startling to think/ said one member 
of the General Committee of the Monegar Choultry, 
Madras, to another, during au enforced pause in the 
business meeting held in July 1877, 'that if India 
becomes Christianised, if all the people become con- 
verted to what the missionaries teach, a Poor Law will 
be a necessary consequence.' 

* That is startling,' was the reply, ' but why should 
such a result necessarily follow ? ' 

* Reasoning by analogy,' responded the first speaker, 
^ such must be the case. In all the Christian countries 
of Europe the poor are supported by the State. In India 
they are supported by the people themselves — their 
relatives generally, or, if they are religious mendicants 
or professional beggars, by those of their own religion. 
The Hindoo religion inculcates the utmost benevolence, 


and, as a consequence, that is done voluntarily here 
which elsewhere, in Christian countries for instance, is 
done by the Government/ 

' Yes ; the family system in this land leads to much 
generosity, and to the support of many poor relatives by 
those who earn only trifling wages. I know one mem- 
ber of this Committee, present in the meeting at this 
moment, who himself has been providing food for 
thirty-five people daily since the famine began.' 

The conversation was broken off at this point, but 
the issues involved are of such great importance that 
they may not unfittingly form a theme for consideration. 
There can be little doubt that a Poor Law would be one 
of the results of India becoming Christianised. The 
statement may to some be so startling that it will be 
asked, 'Why harbour such an idea for a moment? What 
necessary connection is there between Christianity and 
paupers supported by the State ?' Much more than 
appears at first sight. Christianity in the concrete will 
not allow of people dying for want of food ; Christians 
individually do not feel the claims of their religion so 
strongly as Hindus do the faith they profess; conse- 
quently, whilst one religion inculcates as powerfully as 
the other the paramount necessity for the exhibition of 
charity, the duty imposed on the individual is less felt by 
one body of worshippers than the other. In Christian 
countries the State has to support those who, very fre- 
quently, should be maintained by their relatives and 
friends or by others akin to them who have means enough 
and to spare. Professor Monier Williams, in a description 
published in The Times newspaper of his visit to Southern 
India, says he was particularly struck with the fact that 
the people of India were never ashamed of their religion. 
There is a good deal more in this than at first strikes the 
eye, for, on the contrary, an Englishman is very shame- 


faced — once in a while, perhaps, from purest humility, 
feeling that he is standing on the threshold of great 
mysteries — ^as regards his belief, and, consequently, 
is careless, through ignorance, of what claims the 
religion he professes has upon the display of active 

There are many who believe that India cannot be 
politically and socially regenerated without a change of 
faith — that change being from belief in the Hindu triad 
and the Muslim Prophet to trust in Jehovah and Jesus 
Christ. To the argument used it may be objected, if, 
as a consequence of a change of religion, pauperism and 
the evils of State aid to pauperism are to follow, will 
not the attendant ills outweigh the presumed advan- 
tages, and the last state of the continent be worse 
than the first ? Not necessarily. The fear that State 
pauperism would be one consequence of the Christianising 
of India is born of a particular fact, which may cease to 
be of any importance if those who are engaged in mis- 
sionary work become more anxious for the people's good 
to whom they minister than for denominational success. 
It is because an Oriental religion arrayed in an Occi- 
dental garment, fashioned after the mode of thought 
which dominates free and independent people, is being 
urged upon those whose idiosyncrasies are unfitted for the 
reception of it that there is occasion for fear lest what is 
unsuitable should be imposed upon an alien people. Many 
of those engaged in the work of changing the religion of 
the people of India are proceeding upon what seems to 
be altogether a wrong principle. The one peculiar fact 
connected with the religious truth revealed in the Bible 
is that, whilst the externals of worship may vary with 
the idiosyncrasies of race and the exigencies of climate, 
the essence, the faith, and the principles underlying 
these externals are admirably adapted for every indi- 


vidual of all the diverse peoples of the globe. This, 
however, seems to be overlooked by some engaged 
in evangelistic work amongst Hindus proper. A fatal 
desire seems to dominate the minds of many to intro- 
duce to India, where they would palpably be out of 
place, the externals they were accustomed to in Great 
Britain, and which were highly successful there because 
they were the outcome of the peculiarities, wishes, and 
desires of the English people. Those who are making 
the greatest mistake in this respect are the members of 
the High Church — the Ritualistic — party of the Anglican 
communion. Any one acquainted with the current history 
of India will not need telling of the evidence in support 
of this statement which has been forthcoming during 
the past few years. There are those who have raised 
the cry of the necessity for ' corporate ' action on the 
part of the Church, and, for the sake of a mechanical 
unity, would impose upon that weak bantling, the Native 
Church, a round of ceremonies, a multiplicity of observ- 
ances, altogether out of harmony with the normal state 
of things in India. No room is to be left for freedom 
of action, for the play of individual thought and 
effort ; Indian idiosyncrasies are to be overborne by, 
and merged in, a ritual and observances altogether 
foreign, which sit upon the worshippers like an ill-made 

It would be a calamity indescribable if Christianity 
were to bring to India the English Poor Law, and yet 
it seems clear that this is one sure and certain result 
of Anglican Christianity transplanted en bloc. Would 
it not be possible to maintain in the Hindu and other 
systems that which is indisputably good, and run through 
the existing channels pure streams instead of polluted 
ones? The Hindu family system has in it much of good, 
but it cannot continue in the presence of English Chris- 


tianity. The system would be unsuited to Anglo-Saxon 
practice, but it does not follow that it is out of place in 
the body politic of another people. The benevolence 
strongly inculcated by the Sastras and other sacred 
works, though disfigured oftentimes by the feeding, as 
an act of merit, of lazy people who ought to be made to 
work — in this respect sharing the evils of official 
benevolence in England — has yet in it so much of good 
that surely Christianity could embrace these things 
while undermining the faiths of which they now form a 
part. Where the Indian system fails in the matter of 
true charity is that it has no power of expansion : it 
does very well for everyday ordinary family distress, 
but cannot cope with a great national disaster, in the 
spirit in which calamities are met by the various Indian 
(Christian) Governments. When, in the time of a native 
Government, a famine came, the people perished ; now, 
when a similar disaster is experienced, the people are 
saved, so far as may be. In exalting the individual 
over the family, Christianity and the progress which is 
the outcome of its fundamental principles, has made this 
farther reach possible. None other than a Christian 
people has yet done what was accomplished in India 
in 1876-78. Almost numberless instances of famine 
having unchecked sway are related in Indian history ; 
not many years ago Persia showed how supine and 
inert her authorities could be in the presence of 
preventible distress j whilst simultaneously with the 
Indian famine being faced, fought, and conquered, China 
has confessed her inability to cope with wide- spread 
suffering, such suffering being <^u8ed through failure of 

The outlook on the continent of India, in its 
impoverished soil unscientifically cultivated, is so gloomy 
that, whether through forms of English Christianity or 


by other means, the country seems to be approaching a 
chronic state of pauperism. During three years, more 
than eleven millions steriing were spent upon feeding 
the people. 

The Indian Government have two courses before 
them: (1) doing nothing, and a Poor Law will be ne- 
cessary in a generation ; (2) exerting themselves to 
improve agriculture, to ensure that the land shall be 
properly cultivated, and the idea of a Poor Law may be 
put off for several generations, for there is untold wealth 
a few inches beneath the surface of the soil if an improved 
plough is used to turn it up. That is, pauperism may 
be staved off if the authorities are wise and active, wise 
to prevent a yoke being put upon the people's neck which 
they are unable to bear, and active to devise such means 
as shall increase the food-producing qualities of the soil. 
Christianity may do much to help forward a better 
time, and* may, if unwisely taught, do equally much to 
hinder real improvement. 

The most pressing refonn — though it is not recog- 
nised as such — ^before the Governments of India is the 
enlargement and improvement of the village system. 
Instead, as in past years, of unwise and deeply regrettable 
legislation, weakening village communes, which has 
characterised administration in all parts of the land, the 
utmost efforts ought to be made to add to their efficiency, 
from the munsif (the headman) to the scavenger. With 
an organisation such as exists, strengthened and 
improved, the machinery of government is comparatively 
easy, and, from an administrative point of view, no 
modification of a European Poor Law will be needed 
to help in feeding the poor. With better village govern- 
ment, better village statistics, and general widening of 
knowledge, agriculture could be improved, manufactur- 
ing industries introduced, and famine become as impos- 
sible in India as it is France. 




Considering the proclivities of the people of India, it 
was only natural when, in 1876, distress became severe 
that private charity should be, apparently, more prompt 
than Government in providing food for the famishing. 
The same sights were chai-acteristic of the chief cities in 
each of the Presidencies and the province affected. In 
Bombay the benevolent were early on the alert, and, 
throughout the whole period of distress, did exceedingly 
good service ; in Madras rich Hindus spent large sums 
in feeding many destitute and wandering people, but in 
the chief city their generosity was checked by Govern- 
ment, but not entirely stopped : in the mofussil,^ scat- 
tered efforts were made by small committees, assisted 
by Government, but the efforts were few and fitful ; 
in Mysore, private efforts were exceedingly prompt and 
did efficient service. Soon, however, in Mysore, the means 
of the public came to an end, but non-official agency 
was still made use of, although Government funds were 
mainly expended, until a large portion of the muni- 
ficent contributions from Great Britain and her colonies 
were placed to the credit of the Mysore Relief Fund. 
It may be as well, perhaps, in regard to private relief to 
follow the same system that has been adopted in regard 
to Government relief operations, and deal with the 
efforts of the Presidencies and provinces singly, accord- 
ing to their merit. 

^ The 'mofussil/ t.e. the country districts as distinguished from the 
Presidency town. 


I. — Bombay. 

In Sholapur the scarcity and distress consequent 
thereupon, first showed itself ; and it was in Sholapur 
that the most strenuous eflPorts were made by private 
liberality to mitigate suflFering. At the best of times 
the people live from hand to mouth, and are ex- 
ceedingly poor. The following anecdote is significant 
of the normal poverty of this the chief town of the 
district. When the Morarjee Goculdass mills were 
started in 1874, at a time in which there were no signs 
and no fears of a famine, the people went in hundreds 
praying to be employed even at an anna a day. Not 
many were wanted at the moment, still employment 
was found for some three hundred, at the fairer wage of 
an anna-and-half per diem, to level ground. All 
through the cold weather they slept outside on the 
bare ground close to their work, for fear strangers 
would come in overnight and take their work from 
them in the morning.^ 

A public meeting was held in the dwelling-house of 
Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, Bart., at Bombay, in October, 
1876, over which the baronet presided. Its object was to 
concert measures for the distribution of the money which 
had been raised for the relief of the poor by the efforts 
mainly, of Mr. Morarjee Goculdass. The desire of the 
public to share in relieving distress was heartily wel- 
comed, and a letter was read at the meeting fi-om 
Mr. Grant, collector of Sholapur, in which that 
gentleman showed the great good that would be done 
to the poor generally not employed on Government 
works, by rice being purchased in Bombay, forwarded 
to the distressed districts, and sold at cost price.^ 

* Times of India, October 16, 1876. 

' Mr. Grant, in his letter to Mr. Morarjee Goculdass, thus describes the 


Much practical discussion followed, and before the 
meeting came to an end, the Deccan and Khandeish 
Relief Committee was formed, and for many months 
was found most useful in mitigation of distress. With 
the exception of Dr. Blaney, the working committee 
was formed exclusively of Indian gentlemen, but sub- 
sequently other Europeans joined it. 

Meetings followed in various parts of the Pre- 

proposal : — ' In order to assist both classes there are three courses open to 
us. The first is to provide employment in the form of relief works for those 
that are able to work, and this the Goveiiiment are doing, and will no doubt 
continue to do. The next is to supply large quantities of gnuo from other 
parls of the Presidency where jowaree is plentiful and cheap for those that 
are in a condition to pay for it, and the last is to distribute in charity grain 
to those that are unable to work, and to others maintenance from any other 
source. With regard to relief works, everything must of course be left with 
the G4)vernment. In the city of Sholapur especially, and elsewhere, there 
are numbers of persons at the present time that can afford to purchase grain 
for themselves, and to subsist on their own means, provided they can get 
grain at a moderate price, but the Marwarees and others who have possession 
of all the grain in the district are holding back, and will not part with it 
except at such exorbitant rates that the people cannot afford to purchase it. 
To assist this class of persons, I would suggest that a sum of money should 
be raised in Bombay, as an advance or loan, for the purchase of grain in 
the bazaars or elsewhere. All grain thus provided might be sold for ready- 
money, with which fresh supplies might be obtained from time to time as 
required, the cost of carriage being provided for in reckoning the selling 
price. The original amount would thus remain intact, and be returned to 
the subscribers when no longer required. In order to provide for those that 
are entirely destitute, I cannot suggest anything but to raise a subscription 
for the purchase of grain for distribution in charity. At the present time I 
am causing jowaree to be sold at Sholapur by private arrangement at 8, 8^, 
or 8} seers for the rupee, by importing partly from the districts and partly 
from Jubbulpore and Oomrawuttee. If I had not done so, the price of grain 
would have risen to 6 or 6 seers per rupee, or even higher, as it did before 
we commenced operation. With the assistance you have so kindly ofiered, 
and by taking immediate measures in the manner suggested, I believe we can 
continue to sell not less than 8^ or 9 seers for some time longer. The poor 
classes in the district subsist entirely on jowaree, and therefore I have not 
thought it necessary to refer to other kinds of grain, or to the necessity of 
procuring them. If you can provide an immediate supply of jowaree, and 
forward it to Sholapur, you will confer an inestimable benefit upon thousauds, 
and I will undertake the distribution, and also the recovering of the value of 
it, including cost of carriage.' 


sidency, in quick succession. One was held at Shola- 
pur, and it was decided that a local fund should be 
raised. Another meeting was held at Ahmednuggur 
to consider what steps could be there taken. ^ A Mar- 
waree merchant had placed 25,000 rs. at the disposal of 
the Government for the purchase of grain, to be sold at 
prime cost. 

At Poona a great meeting was held in the Council 
Hall,- under the presidency of General Lord Mark Kerr, 
then commanding the Poona district. In opening the 
proceedings. Lord Mark Kerr said that he was pleased 
to see such a great meeting of classes and all races. 
The object for which they had met was a great one. 
This year, 1876, was to see proclaimed the Queen as 
the Empress of India ; and he hoped that large sums 
of money would be collected, in order that great works 
could be carried out to inaugurate the event, and so 
enable the year to be remembered, not only on account 
of the proclamation, but also on account of the great 
works. They ought to begin at once and construct 
aqueducts, canals, reservoirs, and tanks throughout the 
country. Although the Almighty gave them an abun- 
dant rainfall, he had also given them forethought and 
intellect to use that abundance prudently and carefully. 
A famine had, however, come, and it now rested to see 
how much could be done to relieve it by means of such 
works. Mr. Norman, the collector of Poona, explained 

1 Of this meeting a gentleman preseut says : — 

* It is worthy of note that such a gathering has never hefore assembled 
here for such a purpose. The wealthy Marwarees who were invariably con- 
spicuous by their absence on such occasions, were to be seen there. From 
this it was apparent that most of the people of this place evince great 
sympathy for the distress of their fellow-creatures, and showed great 
willingness to contribute, to the best of their power, for the relief of the 
distressed. One of the speakers suggested that grain-dealers who had hoarded 
extensive stocks of grain should take compassion upon the people and give 
grain in charity at this critical juncture.' 


that the money eubscribed would be devoted to the 
purchase of grain to be brought down to Poona, which 
would be distributed to the old and feeble who were 
distressed, but he hoped that work would be found 
either in the camp or the city for those able to work ; 
and that such labour would be paid for partly in grain 
and partly in money. Some money should also be 
distributed to the larger towns in the coUectorate, in 
which committees should also be formed and subscrip- 
tions raised. It must be remembered, continued the 
collector, that the famine was only just commencing, 
and they must yet look forward to six months of 
increasing scarcity. To meet that he hoped that a 
monthly subscription would be given, as well as a 
donation fund formed. His Excellency the Governor 
of Bombay favoured the movement, and sent a liberal 
donation, while altogether 9,000 rs. were subscribed in 
the room. 

The Sarvajanik Sabha was also prompt to do much 
useful work in the way of voluntarily relieving distress. 

Bombay benevolence, however, was not confined to 
succouring human beings ; an endeav6ur was made to 
save the cattle also. A fund, called the Bombay Cattle- 
saving Fund was raised, and by means of it many 
cattle were saved. The fund amounted to 10,000 rs., 
and 2,000 beasts were gathered in the Sholapur Mills 
compound, having been purchased at from two annas 
(threepence) to six annas (ninepence) per head, whilst 
many were driven into the compound for nothing, the 
owners not being able to provide them with food. On 
October 31, 15,000 cattle were for sale in the Sholapur 
market, but there were no buyers and no fodder. As 
the cost of keep of each animal was eight annas (one 
shilling) per day, of course it was obvious that the 
Bombay Cattle-saving Committee could not last long 


or do much with the limited funds at its disposal. 
Indeed, it was only intended as a temporary measure^ 
to continue at work until the permission of Govern- 
ment could be obtained to send the cattle to certain 
grazing-grounds on the hills which belonged to the 
State. Permission was given with the promptitude 
which marked the procedure of the Bombay authorities 
in regard to famine matters; and further, a large 
number of people on relief were set to cut fodder, large 
quantities of which were sold to those engaged in con- 
veying grain into the interior. 

At a meeting held later on, in November, at Shola- 
pur, Mr. Morarjee Goculdass, an enthusiastic Parsee 
of a good English type, who seems to have been the 
spring of the philanthropic movement in Bombay,^ 
made what the journals of the day called a ' slashing 
speech.' He attacked the greed of the Bunniahs in 
maintaining famine prices at a time when people wqre 
dying of want, and combining for inordinate profits 
when all others were freely opening their purses. * If 
they do make large profits,' he said, * the money will 
be cursed and never be of use to them, while they will 
incur the just displeasure of God.' He gave several in- 
stances of such wicked greed i-ecoiling on the heads of 
the speculators, referring more especially to the profits 
in Bombay, at a time when cruel war was decimating 
America. But the most forcible argument he employed 
was, that his friends in Bombay were determined to 
battle with these combinations to the death, and were 
prepared, as a matter of business, not of charity, to 
bring up ten lakhs' worth of grain if it were needed. A 
contractor at Bombay, Mr. Nagoo Sayajee, lent the 
Sholapur Committee 10,000 rs. to be employed in 

' Id recognition of his public epirity Mr. Morarjee Goculdass was made a 
' Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire/ on January 1^ 1878. 


buying grain at Bombay, and selling it in the dis- 
tressed districts plus carriage and expenses only. The 
cost of distribution and organisation he also bore. By 
these means the capital would remain in full for buying 
and selling throughout the whole period of the femine. 
Sholapur, the scene and centre of much that was 
interesting and exciting during the famine crisis, has 
the honour of initiating a mode of relief which, when 
attempted in Madras eight months later, under the 
designation of * Day Nursery,' attracted much attention 
in other parts of India and in England. Mrs, Grant, 
wife of the collector, busied herself on behalf of the 
suffering creatures around her, almost as much as did 
her husband. She urged the ladies of Bombay to raise 
a special fund to feed and tend the starving little children 
and to clothe the almost naked women. Many children 
were deserted, others had to be cared for, whilst their 
parents were on works ; others again needed the scanty 
food their parents could not afford whilst food prices 
were so high, supplemented by at least one meal a 
day. A dhood khana was, therefore, started for children 
under eight years of age ; funds were obtained to clothe 
the women. The admirable arrangements of General 
Kennedy, in providing for children on works as well as 
their parents, before long did away with the necessity 
for the dhood khana, so far as one class was concerned. 
It was greatly needed, however, for others. An officer 
employed on the works, writing to friends in England, 
describes the following scene : — 

' The strangest sight in my famine work is to see 
the little children mustered. I am paying all children 
belonging to the labourers, who are too small to work, 
six pies a day ; so their names are all entered, and they 
have to answer them at muster. Some are so small 
they could hardly tell their names if asked, but they 

A GOOD Sunday's work. 17 

very soon learn to tell the sound of them when read 
out, and run up and sit down in line with much more 
apparent intelligence than their fathers. £ach little 
beggar has to receive his or her own pay, too, at the 
weekly payment of wages, and they do it with no end 
of dignity and independence — ^up to the point of turn- 
ing to walk away with it, when they usufdly end with a 
rush to hide in their mother's garments/ ^ 

The native journals highly appreciating Mrs. Grant's 
eflForts, and one of them (the East Goftar)^ after warmly 
eulogising the dhood khana, said Mrs. Grant's kindly 
intervention was a truly benevolent arrangement, 
which would bear favourable comparison with the 
schemes emanating from professedly religious men in 
Bombay and elsewhere.^ 

The special correspondent of the Times of India, 
writing on November 13, gives a most graphic and 
interesting description of the works of mercy carried 
on, which may be quoted in full as typical of much 
eflFort put forth during the whole period of the distress. 
He writes : — 

' I spent Sunday most fitly in carefully examining 
the different works of mercy that, with one exception, 
have all been originated since I happened to come 
here. As in my last letter, I will give a meaning more 
or less clear to my rough notes. First we will go to the 
dhood khana, in the old military hospital, where Mrs. 
Grant looks after the infants. The notes I transcribe 
were in reality made on Saturday morning, but most 
fittingly come in here. The dhood khana was opened 
on Friday. 

* The Ouardian, London, January 26, 1877. 

' The reference here, OTidently, is to a proposal made hy the Protestant 
Bishop of Bombay to take famine orphans and train them in the Christian 
faith, which the Native journals strongly condemned. 



' On Saturday, at eight in the morning, then, I found 
Mrs. Grant and three other ladies at the door battling 
almost hopelessly against three hundred hungry mothers 
and hungry children. It was almost impossible to keep 
order, or to tell those who were fed until Mr. Grant, 
who had been showing Mr. Rogers other pitiful sights, 
came up, and reorganised matters by closing the door 
on the hungry, howling crowd, and after careful selec- 
tion letting in some fifty at a time. These were made 
to seat themselves with their babies round the hospital 
walls. Then the ladies went round, like true sisters of 
mercy, feeding the little ones with milk, the older ones 
with rice, and with fresh jowaree cakes for some of the 
hungrier women. Even the newly-born babies, whose 
mothers were too starved to do a mother's duty, were 
not forgotten, and the feeding-bottle was in great request 
till some clumsy native broke it. Then it was pretty to 
see the English ladies kneeling and trying to feed the 
little swarthy dot with a spoon, and the mother's look 
of gratitude. Cups and small earthen pots were pro- 
vided, and most of these, I am sorry to say, were stolen ; 
and we saw one woman snatch the cup of milk from 
her baby's clutching fingers and drink it off herself. 
When the first batch had finished, they were kept apart 
at the end of the room, so as to prevent them, like 
Oliver Twist, from ** asking for more," but one girl 1 
saw climb out of a window, and she was not detected. 
The rest were admitted in similar lots, and at the third 
lot the Hon. Mr. Rogers took from me a girl of about 
five, who, as he tenderly led her up the room, looked 
the very impersonation of infantile " scarcity." There 
were not three pounds of flesh on that child's bones. 

' Mr. Rogers — to prpve his interest in Mrs. Grant's 
Children's Fund — subscribed liberally, and I learn that 
the indefatigable Mr. Morarjee Goculdass has succeeded 


in getting additional monthly subscriptions of 90 rs. at 
Poona, and a monthly subscription of 250 rs. at Bombay, 
this bringing the total up to about 500 rs. per mensem. 

' Mr. Grant permits me to say that Lady Staveley, 
without knowing Mrs. Grant, has written to her, and 
most kindly oflTers to influence the Poona ladies in start- 
ing a kind of Dorcas Society to make rough garments 
for the poor women here. This Clothing Fund, it may 
be remembered, is allied to the Children's Fund. Much 
clothing has already been given away. The women are 
miserably clad, and girls of seven or eight go about 
without a rag upon them. Many must sleep out in the 
cold night air. Lady Staveley's example must surely 
find followers in Bombay. If we may judge by the 
ladies here, there is a common feeling of womanhood, 
and a sympathy with maternity, but then Bombay is so 
far oflF, and that miserable " scarcity " is so misleading. 
Still even a scarcity of garments ought to be remedied, 
when it is accompanied with a want of house-roof. 

*From here we go to the school-house down in 
the town — remember that it is Sunday now. Older 
children, who have quitted milk as a vanity, and old 
people are fed here for the first time to-day, and in all 
1,100 appeared. There is a good organisation here and 
a proper severity. All round the large compound they 
are made to sit in one continuous thin line. Then the 
committee go round. I may not call this a starvation 
hospital without provoking fresh letters firom Poona, 
but I will call the sufierers patients. Each patient, 
then, is provided according to age, with a quarter of a 
seer of rice, or with half a cake of jowaree bread — ^thin 
like coarse oat-cake and slightly cooked like that on a 
griddle — ^there is a little boiled grain in the middle to 
make it palatable ; this is put on by a man who follows 
with a long ladle, in a Dotheboys Hall fashion. The 



quantity is carefully regulated so as to harm no patient 
after an unwholesomely long fast Three times, where 
some slight delay occurred, the long rows of patients 
could stand it no longer and made a frantic but ineffec- 
tual rush at the stores in the centre. There was a good 
deal of snatching one from the other, and a strange look 
of satisfaction in the eyes when the hand has firm hold 
of the food. The difficulty in dividing the patients 
between Mrs. Grant's establishment and this is apparent 
enough, if we think that a mother's children vary in 
age. Here, for instance, I saw a baby, who ought to 
have the feeding bottle, crawling on all fours towards a 
little pile of rice which its sister held in her lap. 

* From this we went to the store-house, where 2,000 
recognised poor of the town present themselves every 
Sunday morning from six to eleven, and receive 7 lbs. 
of jowaree, which has to last them the week. New 
comers to the town are supplied daily here with bread; 
500 of the lame, halt, blind, and maimed also received 
their weekly pittance to-day, and a dolorous lot they 
were, representing every disease under the sun, and 
making a trade of it. From this we cross over to the 
dispensary, where the representatives of the Bombay 
Fund are retailing various grains in the compound. 
The compound is piled high with sacks, and all day long 
the hungry crowd stare through the iron railings at the 
tempting heaps. Outside here this morning, as I drove 
past, a fearful scene occurred. A gentleman who was 
with lAe unluckily and unwisely gave a blind beggar a 
few coppers. In an instant we were mobbed by 
hundreds, in the terrible way they have here, some 
tailing down with their faces in the dust (even isolated 
people do this if you relieve them), men showing how 
lean their stomachs were, and women uncovering their 
babies to attract attention. They clung round the tonga, 


and we had to drive our way out by force with a 
shrieking mob chasing us. Such scarecrows of figures, 
such pinched features and staring eyes, such shrivelled 
limbs and wasted breasts ! 

' I may as well go right on to the evening labours of 
the native committee for distributing bread. On this 
(Sunday) night, I was particularly requested to go 
round with them. I called for the secretary at half- 
past seven in a gharry. Another gentleman was with 
us. We started with a basket containing 76 cakes of 
bread, and no one is to receive more than half a cake, 
(I will again copy out my notes scribbled off under the 
sepoy's lamp) ; but I was told that four similar allow- 
ances of food had already been taken round. 

* In the first *' dharamsala" (rest-house) we find 10 
people. One child is sick. An old woman gets up and 
tells us that the work we are doing is a good work. 
Bounding the corner we came upon 1 3 people, who con- 
fess to having been fed already. They have come from 
a village 36 miles off^, and mean to stay here for work. 
Another lot of seven from the same place indignantly 
repudiate any previous food, and when cross-examined 
try to carry this abstinence back for five days. Sixteen 
more, who also give the distance of their vUlage as 36 
miles, have no food since the morning, " want work,'' 
but say they " don't know where to get it." The com- 
mittee enlighten them, with a hint that if they do not 
know where to get work in the morning they will not 
know where to get food in the evening. 

' We then go to the dispensary, travelling through 
the town with a couple of score of hungry wretches 
after us, probably professional beggars. Here eight of 
the patients had been fed in the afternoon. The man 
I mentioned previously was better, but his little girl 
died yesterday. If my telegram did the worthy doctor 


any discredit I am heartily sorry for it. He refused to 
admit this case simply on the plea that the disease — 
** want/' or what you like — from which the man suffered 
was not recognised by the faculty. But eventually he 
did admit him, and though the man recovered^ the child 
died, proving there was something wrong somewhere. 
The authorities have made it very cleitrly understood 
that they will stand no fine distinctions of this sort, and 
everyone tells me that the doctor is working night and 
day among the people in this district. 

' We stop at a well of sweet water and lower the 
bucket ; people have been dipping all day long, and 
there are only about seven inches of muddy fluid 
left. But the water will come in the resting-time of 

'Next we call on the subordinate judge, president 
of the grain committee, partly to see if he will join us, 
and partly, as he is an expert, to check your corres- 
pondent's prices firom Poona. As I anticipated, he said 
it was impossible that grain could be dearer at Poona 
than here. On the day your correspondent must have 
written, grain was half-a-seer more-^U difference of 
measure fairly considered — than at Sholapur, 

* We drove back by the dispensary ; there are 15 
people outside to be fed. The armed sentinel stalks in 
to guard these precious grain-bags lying out in the open. 
Then outside the walls we pass a group of labourers 
camping under a tree : one child died to-day of cholera. 
Another man has been noticed here for two days with 
those old symptoms, is held up to the lamp's light, and 
is told he must go to the hospital ; says he would rather 
die. Then passing through a narrow wicket, we enter 
the court-yard of the big or dagum dharam»ala. In 
the compound there are three brothers who have been 
to Narsala (towards the Nizam's dominions) • They 


have four bullocks left ; they have sold eight and given 
four away ; heard there was no grass there, and so have 
returned. Would go to Poona when we told them of 
the Government offer, because their wives are starving 
at Saugola. Inside the dharamsala there are 103 
people. We spoke to all of them. 

* Here are a few cases : — One child, who has been 
vomiting and purging, arrived here yesterday with her 
mother after a journey of 40 miles ; the husband died 
on the road ; she cannot work until her child is well or 
dead. A man, woman, and five children, came from 
Avutee, 36 miles off ; the man, an invalid, had a quar- 
ter-seer of rice this mornmg ; the other nothing ; can't 
work ; his wife can. One woman and five children, 
from Izerwaddy — one child vomiting and purging. 
Still eats a bit of bread, and held it out afterwards to 
two little brothers. The woman can't work till her 
child is well. A little one wakes up out of the mass of 
children and cries out that it is hungry. All are miser- 
ably thin. Woman from Sattara, with a grown-up son 
and three children. Her husband has died, not recently : 
come for work ; have been fed an hour since ; all swear 
they have not. Man, woman, and six children ; man 
detected this morning offering his handful of rice for 
sale in the bazaar. Wife says he is mad ; he says he is 
a Brahmin — and he is — and refuses our food. Has also 
been detected buying a starved bullock with 8 annas, 
to carry his children on ; says they cannot walk. Give 
him money. — Another high-caste man who will not eat 
our bread. — Another — One woman, one man, two 
children, came 20 miles for work, have spent their last 
two pies in grain ; have nothing but a little water in a 
pot ; the baby stops crying when bread is put into her 
mouth. One man, one woman, and child came 14 miles 
for work ; went begging this evening and got no bread. 


As we came back they were munching at what we gave 

^Then we drove for about a quarter-of-an-hour 
to another retreat. Party of 21 people and 11 cattle. 
Have had a little money to buy food for the last three 
days. Will go "wherever they can get food, and 
cattle may feed." Tell them of Poona; they are 
delighted ; give them food and one rupee for fodder ; 
and tell them to come to the mill compound and 
we will take care of their cattle till the trucks are 

' So ends our pilgrimage, and it is eleven o'clock. I 
can scarcely tell how much I admire the unassuming 
energy of the Secretary to the Relief Fund, Mr. Vish- 
wanath Narayen. He was feeding the children this 
morning at seven ; he is leaving me now, and has 
worked all through the intervening time. The deputy 
collector seems almost omnipresent ; his name is 
Davathan, but after the way aU the committees are 
working now, it seems as invidious, as it certainly is an 
idle compliment, to particularise any individual. 

' There have been many cases of real Asiatic cholera. 
Four cases, and three fatal cases, at the mill. This 
morning, just before breakfast, I was called to look at 
two bodies — one that of a child, one of a woman — lying 
under two neighbouring trees close to the town gates. 
It was no good taking down the miserable story of the 
mother, who, as if I could help her, was brought up to 
me sobbing to tell her tale. I gave her something, and, 
like all the other poor wretches, she put her jGswe on the 

Similar scenes to these, and even more unpleasant, 
were to be witnessed occasionally throughout the period 
until famine declined. 

Another form of relief, undertaken both by the 




Siroophal Tank 










Deccan and Khandeish Committee, mainly through 
officials and the Sarvajanik Sabha, was helping the 
people to recover their former position. Seed-grain was 
supplied to those who could not obtain from Govern- 
ment, advances for sowing ; aid was rendered in pur- 
chasing bullocks and in repairing houses. The com- 
mittee, through its agents, and by the aid of the Sabha, 
had distributing agencies in the following places : — 











In Bombay city, also, assisted by an ' anna fund,' 
which was started in August 1877, much relief was 

The agencies named, however, do not exhaust all 
the means of relief which were adopted. The Maha- 
raja Scindia, of Indore, whose territories join the 
Bombay Presidency, spent much money in helping to 
feed those who were in want. The Sarvajanik Sabha, 
in one of their narratives, made this the subject of a 
comparison unfavourable to Government. The motives 
of the Government, it was admitted, were noble, and 
strenuous efforts had been made to provide for the 
people, but this had not been done in such a way as to 

* rivet the claims of the Government to be regarded as 
their protector by many millions of its grateful subjects.' 
That is, the authorities had not adopted the Indian 
mode of indiscriminate feeding. It was complained : — 

* The charity expenditure of Government has hardly yet 
exceeded 1,35,000 rs., while His Highness the Maharaja 


Scindia's expenditure on account of the numerous poor- 
houses opened by him in Nassik, Trimbuk, Poona, 
Nuggur, and Pundherpore has overtopped this amount, 
while purely private expenditure through the relief 
committees and other independent channels has been 
four times as much/ 

Some of the members of Government were not 
enamoured of Scindia's mode of action. The Hon. Mr. 
Gibbs strongly stigmatised the charity afforded by the 
Maharaja, which he says was expended on religious 
mendicants and lazy people who would not work. In 
fact, he remarked in his Minute, written when the famine 
was over, that he was so impressed with the waste and 
demoralisation caused by such uncontrolled relief that if 
the famine had continued for another year, as was at one 
time feared it would, he intended proposing that all 
charitable relief — unless strictly controlled by Govern- 
ment — be at once and peremptorily stopped. Sir Richard 
Temple did not share these views of his councillor, for, 
in his Minute, he expressed himself very warmly regard- 
ing the mode in which the people directly unaffected by 
famine had come forward to the aid of their suffering 
countrymen, and tb the gift of charity had added sym- 
pathy and kindness. There may have been mistakes in 
affording relief ; idle and beggarly persons to some 
extent were supported, but, taken on the whole, the 
manifestation of charity in the Presidency of Bombay 
was of the order of highest mercy which blesses him 
that gives as well as him that takes. 

II. — Madras. 

The general public of Madras, as well as the Govern- 
ment, were taken aback by the rapid manifestation of 


distress in October-December 1876,^ and no organised 
measures were taken of a nature adequate to meet the 
need. The Friend-in- Need Society, a charitable insti- 
tution for the relief of poor Europeans and Eurasians, 
strengthened its organisation, but this was all. For 
the natives nothing was done on a scale commensurate 
with what was wanted. A suggestion was made that 
in Madras subscriptions should be raised and non-official 
aid secured in relief measures, but the idea was looked 
upon coldly, or actively opposed, as in one of the daily 
journals of the city, where it was pointed out that 
the disaster was so terrible that only a great organi- 
sation like that possessed by Government could hope 
to cope with the difficulty. Consequently, nothing was 
done in an organised manner. Nevertheless, much 
charity was being displayed, particularly amongst the 
natives. There was scarcely a family which had not 
some poor relatives from the country who looked to 
them for food, which was cheerfully given — not for a 
few weeks or months only, but in many cases for more 
than a year. Conversation with native gentlemen on 
this point has served to bring out many cases of heroic 
self-sacrifice ; half-rations were cheerfully sacrificed 
by respectable people, so that their relatives might 
share with them such food as they had. Even, how- 
ever!, when all the * wanderers' who had kinsfolk in 
town were provided for, there were still many people 
who had no food, and in accordance with religious 
teaching and the promptings of their own hearts, several 
Hindu gentlemen in the Northern Division of Madras 
fed daily a large number of people. Two members of 
the Chetty caste fed 2,000 each ; one Mudaliyar 2,000 ; 
two Chetties 2,000 and 1,500 respectively, and others 

^ A descriptaon of the maimer in which the villagers flocked into Madras 
-will be found in chap. i. vol. i . 


smaller numbers, making altogether 11,400. The 
food supplied has been described as of a very poor 
character, being thin gruel or conjee of rice or ragee 
poured into their hands and supped up more like cattle 
than human beings.^ In addition to these, hundreds of 
poor people, congregated on the beach, were laying up 
for themselves a day of cruel reckoning by living on 
the grains of rice sifted from the sea-sand. Early 
in December the Government felt they were bound to 
grapple with the distress manifested in the chief city of 
the Presidency, and issued an order to the Commissioner 
of Police, directing him to open camps, and in various 
ways — e.g.^ giving cooked food at various dep6ts to 
respectable but indigent poor, to provide sustenance for 
the multitudes. In this Order of Government the 
following tribute was paid to the generosity which had 
been exhibited by certain Hindus : — ' His Grace in 
Council has observed with much satisfaction the eflForts 
made by all classes to relieve by private charity the 
existing distress among their fellow-townsmen. Con- 
spicuous among these eflForts are those of the Friend-in- 
Need Society and of the native gentlemen marginally 
noted,^ and His Grace the Governor-in-Council resolves 
to grant to the Friend-in-Need Society a monthly 
donation equal to the special collections for relieving 
the poor, and to request the gentlemen above-men- 
tioned to accept for distribution in food a monthly 
sum equal to the sum expended by them in feed- 
ing the poor, the only condition appended to these 
grants being that the money distributed for the Govern- 

* Report by Ool. W. S. Drever, Oommiasioner of Police, Madras. Ool. 
Drever also says: — 'This diet was, I am profesBionally informed^ more 
calculated to induce disease than to sustain already exhausted nature.' 

' Hugee Mahomed Padsha Saib, A. Armooga Moodeliar, N. Ramalingra 
Pillay, P. Moonesawmy Ohetty^ P. S. Ramasami Moodeliar, Venkatasawmy 


rnent shall be applied to feeding those only who by age 
and infirmity are incapable of labouring for their liveli- 
hood, and that the establishments where the poor are 
fed shall be open to the inspection of an oflScer deputed 
by the Government; 

Madras town relief thus passed, in December 1876, 
into the hands of the police, who frequently had as many 
as 20,000 people dfdly to feed, and whose work was 
done with a thoroughness beyond all praise. Thence- 
forward, for nine months, only fugitive acts of charity — 
save through the Friend-in-Need Society — were ex- 
hibited ; the public, save as tax-payers, had no part or 
lot in the eflForts which were being made to save the 
perishing multitudes. 

What had happened in Madras was characteristic in 
a measure of all the large towns in the Presidency : all 
were crowded with infirm, sick, aged, and destitute poor. 
Attempts were made, unofficially, to relieve these. The 
collector of North Arcot reports that at Arconum 
the European railway officials and some of the native 
community * subscribed handsomely ' to provide a fund 
whereby the poor might be fed daily. In Gudiathum 
also the native community, of their own accord, and 
without solicitation or advice from European officials, 
established a relief committee. In these places, how- 
ever, as in many others, the relief committees merely 
paved the way for the formation of relief camps entirely 
supported by Government and under official control. 

On February 10, Mr. L. R. Burrows, president of 
the municipal commission, Madras, wrote a letter to 
Government in which he propounded a scheme of 
divisional inspection for relief of any distress which the 
present system failed to reach. The agency to be used 
was, mainly, that of ward representatives as they would 
be called in England, commissioners of divisions in 


India. Government, however, was not prepared to accept 
the suggestion, and it was allowed to drop for a time. 
Taking a glance over the whole area of distress — 
though noble efforts were made in places like Bellary, 
Trichinopoly, Salem — the non-official public generally do 
not seem, at this period, to have been sufficiently mind- 
ful of their duty toward the 'starving; a good deal of 
the apathy exhibited, however, was owing to the action 
of Government in not, at an early stage, taking the pub- 
lic into their confidence ; the evil wrought was increased 
by the visits and action of Sir Richard Temple, who 
rather pooh-poohed the idea of much and great distress. 
Of the feeling in his district the Collector of Salem 
wrote (January 16 th) to Government: * Private charity, 
never very prominent in Salem has, I regret to say, done 
little or nothing to alleviate suflFering. A meeting was 
held in the town a short time ago, and some 2,000 rs. 
subscribed by those present, and probably another 2,000 
rs. or 3,000 rs. may be collected.' In Trichinopoly, 
where several Europeans and Eurasians reside, and where 
a detachment of European troops is stationed, more 
exertion was shown. In January a meeting was held 
for raising funds, and a subscription list was put in cir- 
culation, both among the European and native gentry. 
Mr. Stokes, collector of Trichinopoly, writing on January 
7, says : — * About 3,200 rs. have been subscribed by 
natives as donations. The European gentry came 
forward with a monthly subscription of about 150 i-s., 
and 600 rs. in the shape of donation. I expect more 
subscriptions and donations. We started two relief 
houses in the town here on the 19th of December last 
with the aid of the 1,000 rs. out of the Prince of Wales's 
Entertainment Fund, which the native public has 
placed at the disposal of the Famine Relief Committee. 
Two more relief-houses have been started, one at Musiri 


and another at Kulittalai kusbah stations, in view to 
feed the distressed from Salem and other parts who 
pass through those taluks in great numbers.' 

Among the difficulties encountered in aflfbrding 
relief was that of giving assistance to those whose caste 
rules prevent them leaving their homes or showing their 
faces to anyone. Prominent in this class were the 
Gosha females of Mohammedan families. Many were 
known to be in direst want, but death was preferred by 
some to exposure. Early in the fiimine, relief was given 
in Madras to Gosha females, but only to those above 
fifty years of age, and they received from one rupee to 
one and a half rupee per month. They were visited by 
paid Mussulmans (known as Hammamis) who made 
house-to-house visitation and reported to the Relief 
Agent employed by the Conrmussioner of Police, certain 
Mussulman gentlemen being security for the reality of the 
distress to be relieved. When the subject of the relief 
of this class came up in Arcot and Vellore, where the 
collector apprehended deaths from starvation, it was 
suggested by the Board of Revenue that the relief 
need not be entirely gratuitous. ^ Many of the women 
are of good birth, and would prefer earning a pittance to 
being inscribed on a pauper roll. Some work, such as 
silk-reeling or the like, might be found for them.' 
This suggestion does not seem to have been generally 

The natives of Cuddapah, at the beginning of the 
distress, held a meeting whereat it was decided that, in 
consequence of the increasing suflFering, a subscription 
should be commenced for the purpose of opening a relief- 
house in the town. 1,410 rs. were contributed at once, 
and the merchants agreed that they would give, as their 
share towards the charity, three pies upon every bag of 
rice brought into the town. This voluntary taxation 


was continued for several months, and many people 
were relieved thereby. Among the more earnest 
workers in voluntary charity, from the first, were the 
Rev. W. P. Schaffter, of the Church Missionary Society, 
and his successor, when he was compelled to proceed to 
England, the Rev. J. Davies Thomas. They laboured in 
the Chingleput district, to the south-west of Madras city, 
and the last-named gentleman evidently obtained great 
influence over the people, one amusing instance of which 
was shown in March 1878. Among the petitions pre- 
sented to the Chingleput Committee was one from a 
schoolmaster and his wife, in which they asked how they 
could * commit suicide without oflFending the Deity or 
the Rev. J. Davies Thomas.' Their distress, they con- 
tinued, was so great that death was to be preferred to 
life imder the conditions described. 

In all cases where subscriptions were raised — ^and to 
those mentioned must be added Coimbatore, Kistna, and 
Kumool^-Government gave an equal sum. The same 
policy was adopted in regard to the relief operations of 
zemindars, such as the jaghiredar of Arnee, who fed 
700 people a day for several months. In Tinnevelly the 
propriety of private charity was pressed, by the collector, 
upon the people. Having established a relief camp for 
the thoroughly destitute, Mr. Pennyngton issued the 
following instructions to certain native officials in a non- 
distressed part of the districts : — ' I think it would be as 
well if each tahsildar in the river valley were to raise 
subscriptions in the kusbah and surrounding villages for 
feeding the destitute poor who are wandering about in 
search of food. In the outlying villages a good deal 
must be left to private charity, but village munsifs 
should be relieved by them at the expense of Govern- 
ment, an immediate report of expenditure being sent 
in to the tahsildar, so that he ma make inquiries, and, 


if necessary, provide the applicant with a ticket for 
relief in the same village. It is time to make some 
attempt to put a stop to so much wandering about 
of half-starved paupers. It is probable that distress 
will gravitate towards the kusbahs chiefly, and there 
tahsildars must make quite sure that they are prepared 
to relieve everyone who comes. If any one of them 
appear to be fit for work, intimation should be sent 
to the nearest range officer, and he will no doubt make 
arrangements for giving them employment. 

'In the river valley the famine has been quite a 
godsend to the ryots, and they have prospered 
amazingly, so that 1 think they may fairly be called 
upon to support their less fortunate brethren from 
other parts, though, of course, in the last resort all 
who require food and cannot get it otherwise will be 
fed as usual at Government expense, even in the river 

* I may mention, in conclusion, that the merchants in 
Tuticorin (who have also profited largely by the famine) 
have long since spontaneously opened a relief-house 
there and feed considerable numbers at their own 

Thus, in a fitful fashion, throughout the earlier 
period of distress, scope for the exercise of private 
charity was recognised, and many generous deeds known 
only to giver and recipient were done. But when an 
estimate is taken of all the efibrts made — and it is 
believed that reference is made in the foregoing pages 
to all organised attempts — ^they are miserably poor 
compared with the area affected. That more was not 
done is surprising. Sir John Strachey in making his 
Financial Statement in the Viceregal Council in March 
1877, said: * The task of giving relief to all those who 
suffer offers the noblest opportunities of doing good 



to well-applied private charity, and intelligence, and 
zeal: but it cannot be undertaken by the State.' Only 
in an incomplete manner was this truth apprehended by 
the people of Madras ; when, however, later on, they 
awoke to their responsibilities, the splendid unselfish 
service given atoned for previous neglect. 

III. — Mysore. 

The famine policies adopted while the disaster of 
famine was simultaneously prevalent in the Madras and 
Bombay Presidencies, and in the Province of Mysore, 
were very dissimilar so far as private charity is concerned, 
until the visit of the Viceroy in August- September 
1877 produced homogeneity. In Bombay private 
charity was altogether outside the plans and operations 
of the Government : it was recognised in a sense, but 
it was not aided nor controlled. In Madras the prin- 
ciple was played with for ten months. Fitful manifesta- 
tions of private effort were made, when made they were 
encouraged in so far that grants from State funds from 
time to time helped to maintain a feeble circulation. 
But no attempt was made to develop and utilise the 
sympathy and zeal of a large non-oflScial population. 
In Mysore, on the other hand, under the inspiration of 
the Government of India, firom the first, private charity 
was a recognised detachment of the forces deployed to 
meet the famine. So great a part did private charity 
play in the campaign that it is not possible to tell in 
separate narrative the history of each. The one was 
inextricably woven in the other. For a description, 
therefore, of private charity in Mysore, the reader is 
referred to the narrative in Volume I. devoted to the 
distress in Mysore. 




A GENERAL meeting of the Directors of the Monegar 
Choultry at Madras, sitting in a small dark room in 
which the meetings are generally held, had in the month 
of July, 1877, concluded its business and was about to 
break up when the Chairman, Deputy Surgeon-General 
Van Someren, was asked, ^ Is there not a minute from 
one of the Directors to be read ? ' 

* Oh ! yes,' replied Dr. Van Someren, * Mr. Erishnama 
Charriar has sent a minute about the high-caste poor, 
who, he says, are suffering greatly from high prices, and 
who will die rather than go into relief camps, or receive 
cooked food, and suggesting that the Choultry should 
undertake the support of such.' 

* We can do nothing for them,' remarked a director. 
* Our means are already straitened. We shall need 
helping ourselves.' 

^Perhaps we had better forward the minute to 
Government, and leave the authorities to deal with it,' 
said the Chairman. 

This was agreed to, and the subject disposed of, so 
feiT as the Choultry was concerned. 

By the time that the minute reached the Governor 
in Council, distress had intensified, the south-west 
monsoon persistently holding off. His Grace and the 
members of Government had been brought face to face 
with much suffering consequent upon high prices ; the 

D 2 


suggestion from the Choultry, therefore, received prompt 
attention. The authorities saw plainly that they could 
not deal with lower middle-class distress ; it was more 
than they could do to grapple with absolute destitution. 
It was, therefore, resolved to revive the plan proposed 
in the previous February by Mr. Burrows, President of 
the Municipal Commission, and relieve the distressed 
through committees formed of the commissioners. Also, 
as a part of this scheme, it was determined to change 
the policy hitherto adopted, and instead of deprecating 
public subscriptions, to ask for them, for every rupee 
contributed Government giving another. A grievous 
mistake was made at the outset in the mode adopted to 
appeal to the public for aid. Municipalities are new 
institutions in India, mainly noteworthy for harassing 
the people in the persons of the tax collector and the 
sanitary inspector. The yoke is borne uneasily, and a 
scheme floated by such an agency is doomed to grudging 
support A meeting of the commissioners was held to 
determine upon the steps to be taken to meet the views 
of Government, which had been communicated. Con- 
versation was somewhat desultory, but some definite 
arrangements were made: (1) a Central Committee was 
formed, which representative men were to be asked to 
join; (2) it was agreed that Divisional Committees 
should be appointed at a meeting to be held on the 
Saturday following, July 28 j (3) subscriptions were to 
be invited. 

Colonel Drever asked, in the course of the meeting, 
' Where is the money to come from to meet the neces- 
sary outlay ? It will take a great deal to keep up relief 
several months.' 

' There are a good many wealthy people in Madras/ 
said Sir William Robinson; * if they are applied to, they 
will be willing to assist. It is incumbent on us to do 
what we can ourselves and enlist sympathy.' 


* Government has made it very hard to collect sub- 
scriptions in Madras,' remarked the Rev. J. M. Strachan, 
M.D. *Some months ago the Grovemment said sub- 
scriptions were not wanted and discountenanced private 
relief operations. Consequently the public have become 
demoralised. Further, everybody has suffered from the 
famine, and cannot afford to give. Why not ask that 
a relief fund be raised at the Mansion House in London, 
or in Calcutta ? ' 

The suggestion was received in silence, and discus- 
sion * harked back ' to ^ the Government/ the one fact in 
India. The native gentlemen present then expressed 
their views. 

Somewhat periphrastically, Mr. Vanoogopaul Char- 
riar said the relief was proposed to be distributed by the 
public and the commissioners ; their time was all they 
could be expected to give. * It is, therefore, evident 
that the source from which the funds should be ex- 
pected for the relief now under proposal should be the 
same as that now provided at the relief camps.' 

* Eh ! ' inteijected Sir William Robinson, * is that 
what you call fulfilling your duty to the poor ? ' 

' It is the duty of every citizen to support his poor 
in one shape or another,' said the Hon. V. Ramiengar, 
C.S.I. *The Government has spent all it can spend, 
and no land revenue is coming in ; new taxation must, 
therefore, now be faced. It is a sacred duty on the part 
of a man so to limit his expenses as to provide for his 
own poor/ 

With talk of this kind, continuing till nearly eight 
o'clock in the evening, it was decided to do something, 
the meeting on the Saturday following to come to a 
definite understanding on this point. 

On Saturday a meeting largely attended was held. 
It was then stated that it was intended to confine the 


proposed relief to the actual residents, and not to ' wan- 
derers ' daily arriving in the town ; to those who were 
unable to avail themselves of the relief provided through 
the present system, and those who, from self-respect or 
other causes, were prevented from going to the camps ; 
as well as providing for other poor who, if not afforded 
immediate relief, would die of starvation. Certain rules 
had been framed, and related principally to matters of 
routine. One anna money-payment would be made to 
every adult, and six pies to every child, to be given daily 
by one of the members of the committee. This was 
subsequently altered to weekly payments — eight annas 
to an adult, four to a child. 

After eight committees^ had been appointed, for the 
several divisions of the town, aggregating nearly two 
hundred gentlemen, it was decided that an appeal for 
subscriptions should be made in the city. 

* Why ? ' asked a gentleman present, when a resolu- 
tion had been passed that the balance of the Madras 
contributions to the Bengal famine should be made 
available, * Why should the Central Committee not put 
itself in communication with the Lord Mayor of London 
and seek English assistance to meet the terrible distress 
around us? There are many institutions in England 
which would help us — ^the Chambers of Commerce, for 
instance. They take a great interest in India, when the 
reduction of the cotton duties is on the tapis; it is not 
unreasonable to suppose they would be equally interested 
if an opportunity were given them in which they might 
confer benefit instead of receiving it. The English people 
have not the remotest conception of the horrors in our 
midst; if they were made acquainted with them, much 
help would be rendered.' 

^ For Beven months these committees laboured most zealously in their 
various divisions, personally distributing week by week the dole provided. 
The work was arduous, but it was most cheerfully done. 


* If we ask at all/ said Captain Heming, Deputy 
Commissioner of Police, *we must ask for the whole 
Presidency and not for Madras only.' 

* As a central committee in the chief town of the 
Presidency/ replied the first speaker, *I conceive we 
can speak and act for the whole Presidency.' 

*I quite agree/ remarked Sir William Robinson, 
^ with all that has been said about the necessity of 
making the English people acquainted with the fearful 
distress that exists. I am convinced the people at home 
do not know, or much help would have flowed to us. 
The proof of the want of knowledge in Great Britain is 
seen in the fact that only one donation has been received, 
viz., one hundred guineas from Lady Hobart. Still, I 
am not quite certain that the present is the right time 
to make a move, nor am I sure as to the way in which 
it should be made.' 

' Let us do what we can ourselves before we appeal 
to England,' said Mr. Shaw, a merchant. * I was in 
England when the Bengal famine occurred, and I have 
a lively recollection of the manner in which public sym- 
pathy was manipulated by sensational telegrams.' 

' The two cases are not parallel,' was the retort ; 
* whatever there may have been of sham in the Bengal 
famine, there is none in Madras. Besides we can give 
what we have to give ourselves, and ask England to 
contribute at the same time. It is certain that we can- 
not contribute all that will be needed.' 

There seemed general acquiescence in the spirit of 
these remarks, but as there was no definite motion 
before the meeting, nothing was then done. 

Being satisfied that the course he had suggested was 
the right one, the gentleman who mooted the matter, 
through the daily journal of which he was editor, 
strongly urged the advisability of such a step being taken. 


and remarked that if the aid of the public were wanted 
it should be sought in a public meeting, and not through 
an institution so little liked as a municipaUty. He also 
ascertained that, if soUcited, his Grace the Governor 
would not be averse to presiding over a public meeting 
whence an appeal might be made to England. The 
following resolution was therefore prepared for sub- 
mission to a meeting of the Central Committee, which 
was called for Tuesday evening, July 30 : — ' That the 
Central Committee of town relief for Madras arrange 
for a public meeting being held at an early date in the 
Banqueting Hall, over which his Grace the Governor be 
asked to preside. That at this meeting resolutions be 
submitted which shall show the extent of distress 
throughout the Presidency, and that the aid of the 
communities of Calcutta, and other Indian cities where 
no abnormal distress is being experienced, be sought. 
Also that the Lord Mayor of London and the English 
Chambers of Commerce be communicated with, and 
that the India Office be asked to place all available 
communications regarding the famine at the service of 
the English press. As the local Government undertake 
to keep the people alive, as far as possible, it be suggested 
that the funds raised in England and elsewhere be em- 
ployed in supplementing Government aid, and in pro- 
viding implements for agriculture and seed-corn for 
sowing, during the approaching north-east monsoon 

A great many obstacles to the calling of the meeting 
were raised, but after much difficulty they were over- 
come, and the resolution, with some slight amendment, 
was passed. The remarks made in support of the reso- 
lution by the gentleman who brought it forward were 
as follows: — (1) Was the object contemplated in the 
resolution needed? On this point there could be no 


question whatever ; the necessity was only too evident 
to everyone. . Government had done its best to provide 
work and food for the people, but, at length, found the 
distress was assuming such magnitude, people of the 
higher castes were starving, and it had been determined to 
call upon the pubUc for help. Distress so widespread as 
that in Madras could not be grappled with by themselves 
as they might wish to grapple with it, or as adequately 
as it ought to be. The scope was too wide for the 
people or the Government of Madras to deal with. 
Clearly, then, an appeal for outside help was needed. 
(2) Was it desirable that such an appeal should be 
made? The answer to this question was really in- 
volved in that which they had already considered and 
answered in the affirmative, viz., that it was needed. It 
was desirable that this should be done, as much in the 
interests of the English people as of the Indian. What 
would be said in England when the famine was over, 
and its terrible mortality known, if no appeal for aid 
were made ? The questions would be asked, ' Why was 
not our aid sought? Why were we not given the oppor- 
tunity of helping to alleviate distress ? ' This was the 
principle acted upon with regard to friends. If any of 
those present met an acquaintance or friend, who had 
passed through great distress, of which nothing was 
known till it was over, the reproachful remark would 
inevitably be, 'Why did you not tell me of your strait? 
I should have been glad to render you some assistance.' 
This was what the English people would say if the 
opportunity for them to give of their substance was not 
provided. That same people gave towards the Bengal 
famine, in which only twenty-three people died of star- 
vation, more than fourteen lakhs of rupees. There was 
not a relief camp in the Madras Presidency in which there 
were three thousand people, who, when they rose in the 


morning, did not leave thirty corpsesr on the ground. 
Granting, then, that an appeal was needful and desirable, 
the speaker proceeded to ask, (3) Who should make it? 
Clearly not the Government. It was no secret that there 
had been injustice done to Madras with regard to this 
famine, and a greater disposition evinced to believe what 
Sir Richard Temple had said about the local Govern- 
ment's exaggeration of distress than to adopt the views of 
the authorities themselves. For that reason Government 
could not move in the matter. But there was another 
and stronger reason. I'he famine had passed into a 
stage when the assistance of the public was sought, and 
if further help were wanted there must be an appeal 
from people to people, from the people of Madras to the 
people of England. Such communications were more 
seemly if they proceeded from non-official sources than 
fix)m the. Government. Of course, as members of society, 
Government officers would help forward such a move- 
ment, but they could not so well undertake it as non- 
officials could. (4) The need for early effort was very 
great. A portion of the resolution alluded to affording 
help to the people in planting during the north-east 
monsoon season if the rains came. To ensure aid being 
received in time, not a day was to be lost ; time enough 
would be consumed in communications, and if the aid 
was to be really effectual it must come soon. Illustra* 
tions in support of this were cited. (5) There could 
be no question that the appeal would be successful. 
Some of those present were Englishmen, and knew the 
thrill of sympathy which ran through the whole British 
people when there was suffering among any race. And 
the sympathy was not confined to a nervous thrill, but 
it went farther and the pocket was dived into for prac- 
tical support. This was so in regard to human beings 
in want anywhere ; but the benevolence would be in- 


creased on behalf of fellow-subjects of the Queen- 
Empress. . 

Other resolutions were passed at this preliminary 
meeting, directing that his Grace the Governor should 
be asked to preside over the meeting, and a requisition 
to the Sheriff to convene an assemblage of citizens for 
August 4 was signed by six of the gentlemen present. 
The Governor having consented to preside, the requisi- 
tion was sent to the Sheriff. 

* The resolution is not very largely signed/ said the 
gentleman who forwarded it ; ' there are only ten names 

* Quite sufficient/ replied Sheriff Munsie, * I am satis- 
fied that there is a general desire that the meeting should 
be held, and the names given will suffice.' 

Three days later a meeting, which has now become 
a prominent feature in Southern Indian history, from the 
consequences which ensued from it, was held in the 
Banqueting Hall, under the presidency of his Grace the 
Governor, and an appeal was telegraphed to the Lord 
Mayor of London and the chief municipal functionaries 
through The Times newspaper.^ Of the difficulties 
encountered in convening that meeting nothing need 
be said beyond that they were very great ; Anglo-Indian 
apathy seemed greater than it has been described to be, 

' The message was as follows : — 

To London Timet. — ^From Madras Sheriff's Meeting. 

Please publish information Lord Mayors London, York, Dublin, Mayors Bir- 
mingham, Bristol, Liyerpool, Manchester, Provosts of Edinburgh, Glasgow, 
public meeting, Govemor presided, resolved appeal British public for aid 
population Southern Lidia. Severity famine increasing, distress great, rain- 
&11 continues insufficient, population affected 20,000,000, numbers absolutely 
dependent charity Madras Presidency 1,076,000, daily larger; increased 
mortality already reached nearly half million ; distress now reaching better 
classes owing increased price grain double prevailing Bengal famine. Matters 
become worse rapidly. Under most favourable circumstances of weather, 
which is still unfavourable, pressure must continue till crops are gathered 
January. Necessity assistance most urgent pressins^. 


but a word or two descriptive of the assemblage may be 
not unfitting. The attendance of European gentlemen 
was large ; native gentlemen were conspicuous by their 
absence. The seats in the body of the hall were filled, 
but the empty aisles and a great vacant space from 
where the seats ended to the door were calculated to 
exercise a depressing effect upon the promoters of the 
gathering. The Governor's speech was judiciously pre- 
pared and emphatically delivered ; it cannot, however, 
be claimed that from an oratorical point of view the 
meeting was a success. This was of minor importance, 
as what was wanted was not so much to rouse those 
present to generosity as to provide a statement for pre- 
sentation to the people of England. This was obtained 
in the speeches of his Grace the Governor, Dr. Cornish, 
and Colonel Drever, and the following resolutions, which 
were unanimously adopted : — 

I. That the increasing Beverity of the distress aiising from the 
£umne necessitates an appeal to public charity. 

II. That with the view of obtaining the aid referred to in the 
first resolution, the Lord Mayors of London, York, and Dublin, the 
Mayors of Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester; the 
Lord Provosts of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and the communities of 
Calcutta and other cities and stations in India, and the editor of 7^ 
Time8, London, be at once informed by telegraph, and more fully by 
letter, of the urgent necessity which exists for assistance, and be 
solicited to adopt such measiu'es as they may think most suitable for 
making the condition of the Presidency known to the public. 

III. That the existing Town Belief Committee with its Divi- 
sional Committees be requested to continue in office, and that a 
Central Committee be formed to undertake the general management 
of the Famine Belief Fund. 

A committee of about fifty gentlemen was appointed, 
and a meeting was held on August 6, in the Magis- 
trate's Court at Egmore. Sir William Robinson was 
elected chairman, and Mr. Digby honorary secretary. 
Colonel Hearn, Inspector General of Police, demurred 


to the last appointment ; the gentleman named had only 
been a few months in Madras ; some one who knew the 
country well, and was acquainted with all the officials, 
was needed for such a post. Notwithstanding the ob- 
jection, the nomination was agreed to without further 
remark. An executive committee, consisting of twelve 
European and native gentlemen, was appointed,^ and 
the form of appeal, which should be addressed to 
England, was decided upon. Amongst other matters 
considered, was a brief draft appeal, drawn up by the 
Right Rev. F. Gell, D.D., Bishop of Madras, who, in 
his second paragraph, said : ^ Pecuniary assistance on a 
very large scale is needed to meet the present and pro- 
si>ective wants of the very large population who, under 
the hnavy judgment of Almighty God, have been re- 
duced so low.' Simultaneously with the movement 
towards invoking private charity in Madras, his Lord- 
ship had communicated with his Grace the Governor as 
to the advisability of private relief being afforded. On 
July 28, the Governor wrote : ' I can see no possible 
reason why private charity should not be called in aid 
of the dire distress at the present time, in clothing the 
naked and housing the homeless. There is open, alas I 

' This committee was afterwards increased to twenty-five. The names 
of its memhers were as follows :— 

Sir W. RoWnson, K.O.S.I. {Chairman). 

G. Thomhill, O.S.I. 0. A. Ainslie. 

G. A. Ballard. W. W. Munae. 

R K. Puckle, CLE. Ven. Arch. 0. R. Drury. 

Col. F. Weldon. Very Rev. J. Oolgan, D.D. 

Col. J. G. Touch. Rev. J. M. Strachan, M.D. 

Hon. A« Mackenzie. R. G. Orr. 

Hon. J. G. Coleman. F. Rowlandson. 

Hon. E. Ramiengar, C.S.I. A. Cmidasawmy Mudaliyar. 

Hon. Mir Hamayun. F. Ramachendra Rao. 

Jah Bahadur. P. Srinwassa Rao. 

J. Jones. H. Cornish. 

W. Digby, Honor ary Secretary, 


an ample field for the most liberal efforts of charity in 
England and here/ 

Throughout the week the telegrams from England 
to the local newspapers were anxiously scanned for 
information as to whether the appeal had been effectual. 
Days passed without any sign being apparent of success. 
Six days after the meeting had been held, viz., on 
August 10, the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos re- 
ceived a telegram from a friend in London, which ran 
as follows : * Suggest privately to President, famine 
meeting, to telegraph direct appeal to Lord Mayor. 
Success then certain ; meantime, movement hangs/ 
This message was communicated to the executive 
committee, and at its meeting on Monday, August 13, 
action upon it was taken. One gentleman (Mr. J. 
Jones) suggested the telegram to the Lord Mayor 
should be in these terms : * Position extremely grave ; 
monsoon failed ; crops withering, cattle dying. Famine 
must intensify during the next few months. Hundreds 
dying daily of hunger. Government and officials work- 
ing manfully, but cannot prevent terrible mortality. 
Private assistance urgently needed.' Though it was 
conceded this was vigorous enough, it was not felt to 
be sufficiently explanatory, and, after some discussion, 
a draft was determined upon, which was as follows: 
* Committee earnestly solicit your Lordship's powerful 
influence in support of an appeal for assistance for the 
afflicted population in Southern India. The position 
of affairs is extremely grave. Very great and increas- 
ing mortality fi-om want« notwithstanding the utmost 
efforts of Government. The monsoon is again deficient ; 
difficulty will certainly last till January. Cattle perished 
in large numbers. All labouring classes are in very 
great destitution. Property sold for food. Villages 
largely deserted, and the poor are wandering in search 


of suBtenance. The resources of the lower middle classes 
are exhausted, owing to famine prices. Prompt liberal 
sympathy and assistance may mitigate suffering. Par* 
ticulars forwarded to The Times a fortnight ago/ 

This was sent to the Lord Mayors of London, 
Dublin, and York ; to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, 
and the Provost of Glasgow; and to the Mayors of 
Birmingham, Blackburn^ Bradford, Brighton, Cambridge, 
Manchester, Liverpool, and Sheffield. 

Simultaneously with the receipt of this telegram in 
London, the Queen's Speech at the prorogation of 
Parliament was published ; in it appeared a paragraph 
relating to the sore and grievous distress in Southern 
India, which served to concentrate attention upon the 
disaster. In a manner worthy of its best traditions. 
The Times took up the cause of the famine-stricken, 
and, in a leading article on the subject, provided a 
passage with which Sir Thomas White, Lord Mayor of 
London, in initiating the Fund, gave point to his re- 
marks. No sooner had the Lord Mayor received the 
message from the Madras Committee than he took action 
upon it. Contrary to the usual practice in England, 
where a public meeting seems indispensable to establish 
any enterprise whatever, no meeting was called, but 
quietly, unostentatiously, a Fund, destined to be one of 
the marvels of the year, was started at the dullest 
season of the year, when Parliament had risen, and 
all the wealthy and well-to-do folk had made prepara- 
tions for touring and holiday-making. In the justice- 
room at the Mansion House, an Indian gentleman being 
seated by Sir Thomas White's side, and giving point by 
his presence to the cause to be advocated, the Lord 
Mayor, on August 12, with a few remarks, read the 
telegram he had received from Madras. ' This tele- 
gram,' said the X-ord Mayor, * speaks for itself, and I 
can only add to it the concluding words of a leading 


article in The Times of to-day : " Let not the appeal 
now at length made to us fall unheeded. Our country- 
men at Madras call upon the municipalities at home, 
and their cry must be heard. We have hitherto been 
too little concerned with the awful trial that has 
befallen our fellow-subjects; let us redeem the past by 
keeping it before our eyes and in our minds and hearts 
until all that we can do is done, in order that it may 
be overcome." I shall be delighted to receive at the 
Mansion House, and to remit to the Duke of Buckingham 
and the other public authorities in India, any sums 
which the generous public may feel inclined to entrust 
to me; and I sincerely hope that the urgent appeal 
which I now make for funds will be promptly and 
liberally responded to.' A day passed, and subscrip- 
tions began to flow in very rapidly, the first contribu- 
tion being from a gentleman named Cash. Lord North - 
brook, late Viceroy of India, sent a cheque for £500 ; 
the Earl of Beaconsfield sent the following autograph 
letter to the Lord Mayor : 

2f Whitehall Gardens, August 6. 

Lord BeacoDsfield, with his compliments to the Lord Mayor, has the 
honour to enclose a cheque for £50 in aid of the Indian Famine Fund, oyer 
which the Lord Mayor has so kindly and wisely offered to preside. 

The first list published showed two donations of 
1,000/. each, two of 500/. each, one of 210/., and several of 
60Z. each. Prominent among the names of subscribers 
were *old Indians,' and the relatives of such. The 
Marquis of Salisbury, Secretary of State for India, and 
Lord Derby, the Foreign Minister, contributed, and, 
five days after the Fund was opened, it was put on a 
sure basis by a letter from the comptroller to his Royal 
Highness the Prince of Wales, in which a cheque for 
500 guineas was enclosed. The Prince desired General 
Probyn, his comptroller, to add how sincerely his Royal 
Highness trusted that the Lord Mayor's appeal to the 


public ^ for the relief of our starving fellow-creatures 
in Southern India may meet with the prompt and 
generous response it deserves/ The Princess of Wales 
sent lOOZ., and Sir Thomas Biddulph, on behalf of Her 
Majesty, forwarded 500/. Prince Leopold^ the Princess 
Imperial of Germany, Princess Alice of Hesse ,^ the 
Duke of Edinburgh, and other members of the Royal 
Family also contributed to the fund in its earlier stages. 
Within a week from the date of the appeal, 24,000Z. had 
been received, and the sum was forwarded by telegraph 
to Madras, the Eastern Telegraph Company liberally 
oflFering to send messages free of charge. Associated 
with the Lord Mayor was a committee of gentlemen, 
chiefly merchants and bankers of the city, whose names 
will be found in Appendix D. 

It is time to turn to India, where circumstances of a 
more Dr less interesting and exciting character were 
occurring. In India the response which was made to 
the appeal for subscriptions was very pleasing. The 
first notable sum received came with such promptitude 
that good heart was at once put in all interested in 
the movement. Acting on a telegraphic account of the 
meeting in Madras, which was published in the Times 
of India^ the Government of Baroda telegraphed a 

^ The Grand Duchess of Hesse accompanied her suhscription with a letter, 
of which the following is a copy : — 

' Darmstadt, September 20. 

' My Lord, — The Grand Duchess of Hesse, entertaining a lasting attach- 
ment towards her natiye country, was deeply moved by the sad reports which 
came from the Queen's Eastern Empire ; and her Royal Highnesses sympathies 
are fully shared by her husband, the Grand Duke, whose interest in every- 
thing that concerns the Qneen and the people of Great Britain, is no lees 
sincere. Their Royal Highnesses are anxious to send a small contribution 
towards the Indian Famine Relief Fund, which is being collected under your 
Lordship's auspices, and they have, therefore, directed me to forward the 
enclosed cheque of jC50 for that purpose. 

' I have the honour to be your Lordship's obedient servant, 

* Db. E. Becx^b.' 


donation of 10,000 rs. The Prime Minister of Baroda, 
Sir Madava Row, K.C.S.I., was a native of Madras, and 
had not forgotten, in his elevation, the scene of his 
early struggles. It was hoped that the example of 
Baroda would be generally followed in India, and that 
in the great cities meetings would be held and sub- 
scription lists opened. But a difficulty soon occurred, 
the first sign of which was indicated by Mr. L. C. 
Probyn, Accountant-General of Madras. Writing to the 
Honorary Secretary of the Famine Fund Committee, 
on August 13, Mr. Probyn stated that he thought the 
objects for which contributions were asked should be 
more precisely defined. He said : — * It would, of course, 
be useless for private subscribers to compete with 
Government in this matter, or to attempt to set up an 
independent agency, and I gather it was not the wish 
of the meeting that this should be done. But people, 
perhaps less interested in the matter than I am, will, I 
think, very likely refuse their subscriptions on the 
grounds that they are asked to undertake the work 
which Government has already undertaken, and for 
which doubtless the Indian tax-payers will eventually 
have to pay.' 

The subject had engaged the most anxious con- 
sideration of the committee, who were fully alive to 
the impolicy of clashing in any way with Government 
forms of relief. No definite rules of relief had, how- 
ever, been formulated, at the immediate outset of opera- 
tions, but it was clearly understood that the money 
subscribed would be expended in aiding those whom 
Government organisations could not reach. There was 
no wish or intention in any form to attempt to relieve 
those classes for whom the authorities had made them- 
selves responsible. The committee looked upon them- 
selves as occupying a position analogous to that of the 


Red Cross Society in a warlike campaign. The organi- 
sation of armies of civilised states provided medical 
officers and ainbulances, but when a battle occurred it 
was always found that there was more than enough 
work for both official and voluntary medical men and 
nurses. The famine had already shown that, beyond the 
limits which the most philanthropic Government must 
be careful not to overstep, there were multitudes who 
needed a helping hand extended to them to prevent 
them sinking into hopeless poverty ; there were hun- 
dreds of thousands of others who, when rains came, 
would need assistance in the provision of grain for sow- 
ing, in aid towards purchasing oxen and ploughs for 
preparing the land, and thatch for the roofs of their 
houses. These views were formulated in a series of 
resolutions passed at a meeting of the general committee 
held on August 24. They were as follows : — 

(1.) Contribution in aid of local committees for relief 
of necessitous poor not reached by Government aid : 

(2.) Contribution towards the care of destitute 
children in (a) orphanages ; and in {b) day nurseries ; 
and the like : 

(3.) Providing clothes for destitute women and 
children : 

(4.) And, to make allotments towards any other 
special objects which seem to come within the scope and 
ability of the fund. 

It had also been determined that committees should 
be formed in all the districts affected by famine, in 
accordance with a resolution which set forth that * col- 
lectors and European and native gentlemen in the 
distressed districts be requested to form themselves into 
local committees for the distribution of such aid as it 
may be in the pow^er of the general relief committee to 
place at their disposal.' Circulars were addressed to all 

E 2 


the aflFected places with most unsatisfactory results. 
The Government of India had adopted an attitude to- 
wards the fund which absolutely paralysed all the efforts 
which the committee were making. In India the 
Government is all in all. Any eflTort upon which the 
authorities look deprecatingly, or to which they give 
doubtful support, withers as though smitten with a 
plague. In the present instance, however, all eflFort 
was not checked, as the supreme and local Governments 
were at variance: the minor gods on the spot were 
propitious ; it was only the occupants of the far-off 
Ol3rmpus who were opposed (under a slight misappre- 
hension of existing circumstances) to private charity 
being exercised. Some people there were who dared con- 
sequences, and five mofussil committees were formed 
during the month of August. But, generally speaking, 
the movement hung fire. The way in which the mis- 
understanding between Simla and Madras became public 
was this : 

In common with other Indian cities, in regions 
where famine did not exist, the authorities in Calcutta 
had been asked to convene a meeting of the citizens, 
and ask for subscriptions. No response was made to 
this appeal for a while. Neither was any reply vouch- 
safed by the members of the Supreme Government at 
Simla, of whom subscriptions were asked. In a some- 
what circuitous manner it soon oozed out that the 
Viceroy and his Council were not well pleased with the 
action which had been taken in Madras. The public 
meeting in the Banqueting Hall and the appeal to Eng- 
land were looked upon as the acts of the Government 
of Madras, who were represented by a journal which 
professed to speak the mind of the Government of India, 
as being in open revolt against their superiors. They 
were also charged with acting insubordinately in not 


asking permisBion of Lord Lytton to make the appeal ; 
and further, in makmg it they had virtually confessed 
the inability of the authorities to cope with the disaster. 
It was a confession of defeat, a surrender by a general 
of division when the Commander-in-Chief had no 
thought of surrender, but believed his forces capable of 
overcoming all difficulties. This reasoning was fal- 
lacious, but for a time was very powerful. The action 
that had been taken was not the action of the Govern- 
ment of Madras, who it was felt by the chief movers in 
the matter could not as a Government appeal to the 
people of England or of any other country for assist- 
ance. But it was felt that the people of Southern India 
could open communications with the people of England, 
and that such a course would be right and proper. 
The movement, in its conception and carrying out, as 
has already been shown, was entirely non-official, and 
the Governor of Madras was asked to preside over the 
proposed meeting, not as Governor, but as the chief 
citizen of the Presidency, who, from his position, was 
peculiarly acquainted with the need that was alleged to 
exist, and who would be able to give such tidings as 
would caiTy weight. Yet further, not supposing for 
one moment that their desire to ally themselves with 
the Government could be misinterpreted into antagonism 
to the supreme authorities, it never entered the minds 
of the promoters of the movement to ask the Viceroy's 
countenance, which was assumed as certain to be ren- 
dered. It must, however, be conceded that there is 
something to be said from the point of view of the 
Government of India, the members of which were made 
by the appeal to appear wanting in a due appreciation of 
the facts. What reasons Lord Lytton and his Councillors 
had to urge for their action will appear in due course. 
The vague and unauthenticated statements which 


had been current for some time were confirmed towards 
the end of the month, and, just before the Viceroy left 
Simla, by circumstances which transpired in Calcutta. 
A meeting was held in the house of Sir Richard Garth, 
Chief Justice of Bengal, at Calcutta, to consider 
measures to be adopted towards raising public subscrip- 
tions in Southern India. The eflfbrt had a wet blanket 
thrown upon it at the beginning by Sir Richard Garth 
stating that since the invitations had been issued he had 
received a communication from the Lieutenant-Governor 
of Bengal to the effect that the Government of India 
was not desirous that any action should be taken in the 
matter by private agency at present, as the Government 
felt quite confident of being able to deal with the suf- 
ferers by the famine satisfactorily. It was also urged 
that as Her Majesty and the Secretary of State had 
sanctioned the desire of the Viceroy that the resources 
of the Empire should be placed unreservedly at the 
disposal of the Government of India for famine purposes, 
nothing need be done at present, and nothing was 
done.^ It would be difficult to describe the indignation 

^ A ' communicated ' paragraph to the Calcutta Englishman gave the 
foUowiDg details of the meeting : — ' At the private meeting held by special 
invitation at the house of Sir Richard Ghirth, on Saturday aitemoon, to con- 
sider what measures should be adopted towards raising public subscriptions 
for the relief of the sufferers from the famine in Southern India, as suggested 
by the circular of the Committee appointed by the public meeting lately held 
at Madras^ all classes of the community were represented. Sir Richard Gkrth 
opened the business of the meeting by explaining that since the invitation had 
been issued, he had received a communication from the Lieutenant-Governor 
to the effect that the Government of India was not desirous that any action 
should be taken in the matter by private agency at present, as the Govern- 
ment felt quite confident of being able to deal with the sufferers by the 
famine satisfactorily. Several gentlemen present expressed then their views 
on the subject. But, it appearing to be the general opinion that the position 
of Government had been improved by the sanction received from Her 
Majesty and the Secretary of State for India to place the resources of the 
Empire unreservedly at the disposal of the Government of India for famine 
purposes; it was decided to take no steps to appeal to the public at present 
At the same time, it was decided to intimate to the supporters of the move- 


and excitement which were aroused in Southern India 
when these facts were known. First and foremost, it 
was pointed out that H. M. the Queen-Empress, the 
Prince and Princess of Wales, the Secretary of State, 
the ex- Viceroy, were all put in the wi-ong as subscribers 
to the fund by this statement. It was deridingly asked 
whether the Government indeed could deal ' satisfac- 
torily * with the famine in its intensified aspect when, 
up to June 30, half a million of people had died from 
want, and want-induced disease. The Government of 
India were charged with teaching a new gospel, the 
gospel of inhumanity, while the people of Calcutta were 
called upon to revolt against such a doctrine. This, by 
the way, they were doing in the shape of contributions 
raised through the missionary conference and for the 
day nurseries, which had been established in Madras. 
In many ways the feeling of annoyance and vexation 
which had been engendered found expression, and 
amongst other instances may be quoted the following 
' skit,' in which the practice of the Government of India 
of publishing draft bills in the Government Gazette was 
satirised : — 

ACT XVI. OF 1877. 


The following Act and Statement of Objects and Reasons accom- 
panying it are published for general information, under the 22nd of 
the Rules for the Conduct of Business at Meetings of the Council of 
the Governor-General of India for the purpose of making Laws and 
Regulations : — 

ment for raising private subscriptions that at any future time, if it becomes 
necessary, the committee is willing to give its services to devise the best 
means of carrying out the proposals, and to devote all its energies to tbe 
cause of public cbaiity/ 


No. 16 OF 1877. 


An Act to define and a/mend the Law relating to eharitahle cofUrtbu- 

tiona during Famine Periods. 

Whereas it is expedient to define and amend the law relating to 
p^^^^^ charitable contributions during Famine periods. 

It is hereby enacted as follows : — 


Short Title. 

Local extent. 

1. This Act may be called ' The Anti-Cbaritable 
Contributions Act, 1877 : ' 

It extends to the whole of the Madras Presi- 
dency : 

And it has already been put into execution, 

CommenoeineDt. • i* a ^ /* f om»v 

VIZ., from August 6, 1877. 
2. On and from that day the Laws specified in the schedule hereto 

annexed were repealed. But all powers conferred 

Enactment repealed. . ,,■, « i<i <• •* ^ v.i 

under either of such instructions be deemed to have 
been conferred under this Act. 

And all references to either of such Laws shall be deemed to be 
made to this Act. 

These Laws are as follows : — 

(a) The Bible, in use among Christians, particularly those por- 
tions relating to giving of alms. 

(b) The Koran. 

(c) The Hindoo Sastras and all traditions which counsel the 
support of life by charity. 

(d) The Buddhist Banas. 

Of the Contributions which abe to cease. 

3. A contribution is a sum of money, or any quantity of food, or 
piece of clothing given to persons in deep and dire necessity. 

Op the Non-Necessity which exists fob Charity. 

4. It has at length been recognised by the Supreme Gk>vemment that 

distress exists in the Madras Presidency, and seeing 

**"° ^ that Famines occur with frequent regularity, and 

must be fought on system, the Gk>vemment is prepared to deal with 


all distress that arises. It has been stated that half a million people 
have already died of Famine, but the Supreme Government has not 
seen each of these corpses. It is, therefore, enacted that it will 
henceforth be penal for any person to allude to this so-called ' fact/ 
the penalty in case of non-compliance with this order will be the 
^same as in dacoity and other ciimes of yiolence. (See Acts relating 
to Daooities.) 


Of what constitutes an offence under the Act. 

5. It will be considered an offence within the meaning of this Act 
and be punishable to the full extent of the penalties. 

.jf 111 DeflniUon of oflFeuoe. 

if any person shall, — 

(a) Give a contribution (1) to the General Belief Fund of the 
Madras Presidency, or (2) to the Town Belief Fund : 

(6) Giving food or nutriment of any kind to people who are in 
search of sustenance, and are found anywhere outside their villages : 

(c) Writing to friends in England from India, or other parts of Her 
Britannic Majesty's dominions, soliciting aid : 

(d) Or any deed which can be construed by the servants of the 
Supreme Government into a charitable act. [All moneys subscribed 
will be impounded to pay the salaries of the large numbers of such 
who are already in the service of the State.] 


A, a resident in Madras, has given 500 rs. to one of the Funds 
named ; B, a Mofussilite, has done similarly, and, in addition, belongs 
to a Local Belief Ckimmittee ; C, a resident in London, has given 
10,000 rs. ; A is to be heavily fined, B imprisoned for life, and C 
warned that^ if he ever comes to British India, he will be arrested 
and tried on the charge. 

A, a lady living in Namteypett, Madras, was discovered feeding a 
number of little children every morning with milk and brown bread. 
A is punishable with a fine of 500 rs. on the first occasion, and 
imprisonment, at the discretion of the magistrate, on all subsequent 
occasions, when the heinous charge is proved. 

B, another lady living in Bayda, Madras, has established a number 
of Day Nurseries for babies and children who can scarcely run alone, 
whose mothers are engaged on relief works. This is considered a 
very bad case, and the magistrate has discretion to fine and imprison 
to the utmost possible limit. Half the fine recovered, or half the 
pro|)erty of the prisoner (which will be confiscated) will be given to 
the informer. 


A, third lady [it is anticipated that the ladies will be the grossest 
offenders], visits a Belief Camp, and gives 2-anna pieces to the poorest 
and most emaciated of the children. She also clothes some. On her 
first visit she finds she has not a sufficient number of 2-anna pieces, 
and sends several rupees worth by a friend D. This is a very gross 
transgression. A should be transported to the An damans — not so 
much for the original offence, but for inducing D to break the law. 
D should be imprisoned for six months, and receive fifty lashes. 

C (in the employment of Grovemment) is reported to have given 
Liebig's Extract to a starving man, and recovered him. This, C did, 
knowing that there was a Belief Camp a mile and a half beyond his 
dwelling. C may plead that it was a wet night when he did this 
and the starving man was greatly exhausted, but this aggravates the 
offence, as, when camps are provided, nobody ought to be outside 
them. C will, of course, be imprisoned for twelve months, will be 
degraded, and his past service not be allowed to count for pension. 

All cases that may be brought up are to be dealt with in the 
spirit of these illustrations. 


{See Section 2.) 

This is unnecessary, as the laws, human and divine, which are to 
be abrogated have been already set forth in detail. 


A. — Forms of PlaintSf dsc. 

There are to bo no forms of plaints. The evidence of an informer 
that A or B, to the end of the alphabet, has been guilty of the crime 
of aiding or abetting in any way charitable relief, shall be sufficient 
to secure a conviction. No defence is to be allowed to prisoners, who 
are to be considered as vwn compos m,entis, which they clearly are, 
if they give of their substance, and expend their sympathy upon 
the starving and the dying, when Government has taken the task 
in hand. 


The object of this Act is to amend and codify the law governing 
the giving of charitable allowances on the part of the geneitil public 
during a time of famine, and, indeed, at all other times. The want 


of a definite system of law upon this subject has long been felt. 
This want, it is hoped, will be supplied by the present Act. The Act 
is based mainly upon the Law of the Utilitarians, men who have no 
hearts and only diseased brains ; no deviations from that law have 
been made, but some provisions have been adopted from the Pande- 
monium Codes, which were drawn up by that excellent gentleman, 
Mephistopheles, aided by Diabolus, the Advocate, whose art in 
making the worse appear the better part has been strained to the 
utmost in this case. The occasion for it was a dark and dreadful 
conspiracy among sundry and diver's malicious persons residing in 
Southern India generally, but mainly in Madras. They seem to have 
conceived that it was their duty to supplement Grovemment aid 
towards sufferers from famine during the trial of a great experiment, 
and based their action, among other things, on the weak plea that 
half a million of people had died through want, although Grovem- 
ment was doing its best. But that best was only put forth by a 
Local Government too fond of having its own way : the supreme 
authorities have now girded their loins, and are entering into the 
conflict. The public will see what they will see. The mischief of 
such acts as those which this enactment will put a stop to is that the 
experiment which Sir Stra Johnchey has watched with such great 
interest is vitiated, and we shall have to fight another &mine de novo. 
This is not to be tolerated : hence this enactment, which all are 
commanded to obey. 

Stotley Whikes, 

Secretary to Govemvient in the 

Legislative Department. 
Inhumanville, August 8, 1877. 

Whilst feeling was thus being aroused and expressed, 
the executive committee of the relief fund, satisfied 
as to the necessity for their action, had bated ' not 
a jot of heart or hope,' but had continued appealing for 
subscriptions, meeting claims for aid, and laying the 
foundations of a widespread scheme of relief to extend 
wherever distress existed in India. 

As the time approached for His Excellency's arrival 
in Madras, there was much interest as to the course 
His Excellency would adopt towards a movement which 
had by this time given promise of attaining great pro* 


* Has the set of the current in His Excellency's mind 
become fully determined ? ' men asked each other. * Is 
his famine policy absolutely decided upon?' * Has it 
become as hard as the palaeocrystic ice which barred the 
way of English seamen to the Pole ? ' If so, it was felt 
that His Excellency had better never have come to 
Madras. ' Instead of being the deliverer of Madras, he 
would become the destroyer of the people,' said one of 
the exponents of public opinion, which further continued, 
* If Lord Lytton has imbibed the Temple notions about 
rations — and there is an ominous appearance of it — 
then we tell his lordship that he will have to stand at 
the bar of Indian and English opinion to answer for 
the guilt of a terrible mortality.' ' Adopt those reduced 
rations,' said the leading medical authority in this Pre- 
sidency a few days ago, * and your awful death-rate in 
the relief camps will be terribly increased.' In an issue 
of The Times recently to hand it was remarked, * If 
there is such a mortality in Madras as there was in 
Orissa, there will be no mercy or forgiveness this time 
for those who are responsible. The policy of the 
Madras Government will prevent that terrible mortality- 
The policy Lord Lytton is credited with will bring it 
about. We beg his lordship to be warned in time, and 
not be seduced, by a hope of saving half a million ster- 
ling, into the adoption of such a policy, when every 
pound sterling of the amount that is saved will mean 
a human life untimely and unnecessarily squandered.' 
There are assumptions in the foregoing passages which 
were not borne out by subsequent facts, particularly 
with regard to the rival policies, but the remarks are 
quoted to show the direction and force of the currents 
of local opinion at the time. The new policy had not 
the effect which was feared. 

The Governor of Madras proceeded to Raichore — 
the boundaxy-line station between Madras and Bombay 

THE viceroy's ARRIVAL AT MADRAS. 61 

— ^to meet the Viceroy, and together the Governor- 
General and Governor travelled to Bellary, where a day 
was spent. The discourse between Lord Lytton and 
the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos was of relief 
works, relief camps, total expenditure, and kindred 
subjects, but not a word was spoken of the interrupted 
public meeting at Calcutta or of the alleged ability of 
the Government to deal satisfactorily with all affected 
by famine. The Governor of Madras left the Viceroy 
at Bellary and returned to Madras to receive the Vice- 
roy at the chief city of the Presidency. 

On the day preceding the Viceroy's arrival, a tele- 
gram was received from the Mansion House Committee 
stating that a report had appeared in The Times from 
Calcutta stating that in the opinion of the Government 
of India private subscriptions were not wanted. It was 
asked whether there was any truth in the statement, 
and it was added that unless speedily contradicted the 
success of the fund would be imperilled. 

' The appeal to England has been very successful 
so far,' said his Grace the Governor, to a member of 
the executive committee on the morning of August 
29, when on the platform of the Madras station the 
Viceroy's train was being awaited, *I received a 
telegram last evening announcing the despatch of 
25,000/. That makes 45,000/. altogether. The fund 
will probably be large. The " whip " will be successful.' 

' That is very satisfactory, your Grace,' was the 
reply. ' But is not the charity of England likely to be 
checked by the telegram of The Times Calcutta corre- 
spondent, respecting which the Mansion House Com- 
mittee has telegraphed ? ' 

' It may have a temporary effect,' said his Grace, 
'but I do not think it wiU do much harm.' 

' Your Grace had an interview with the Viceroy 


yesterday. May I ask whether his Excellency said 
anything about the fund ?' 

' No. Not one word was said on the subject.' 
* Seeing the prejudicial effect which certain state- 
ments purporting to have the authority of Grovemment 
had in Bengal and now have in London, does your 
Grace not think the relief committee might seek an 
interview with the Viceroy, to come to a clear under- 
standing about the matter ?' 

' Yes ; I think the committee is bound to do this.' 
The train came up at this moment and the conver- 
sation was interrupted. 

Under eyes which scanned him closely, the Viceroy 
stepped from his carriage and proceeded with the 
Duke of Buckingham and Chandos to Government 
House amid the state and magnificence with which the 
present rule of Madras is marked. 

On the following morning in a semi-official manner 
the honorary secretary of the committee had interviews 
with Colonel 0. T. Burne, private secretary, and other 
members of the Viceroy's staff, and it was understood 
that Lord Lytton would be willing to meet the com- 
mittee and discuss with them the question of private 
subscriptions and the scope for private charity. A state- 
ment of this fact was ' circulated ' ^ during the day to 
members of the executive, who were to meet that even- 
ing in due course, that they might become acquainted 
with the business for consideration. With one excep- 
tion, all the members who saw the notice were in favour 
of an interview which, it was hoped, would do away 
with the misunderstanding that existed. But when the 
committee met in the evening a different spirit was 
evinced. This will appear from the following passages 

^ * Circulated/ in the fashion in which so much Indian committee work 
is done. Anglo-Indians will understand the allusion. 


extracted from No. 1 of the * weekly statements ' of the 
Famine Committee : — 

The following telegrams from London were read : — 

From Lord Mayor, dated August 27. 

Twenty thousand pounds further herewith. Telegram in to-day's 
Times from Calcutta deprecating private efforts as Government 
will do all necessary. Injurious. How does your Grace propose to 
distribute our fund? During last famine a Local Committee was 

From Sir N'cUhcmiel Rothschild, dated August 27. 

By desire of Lord Mayor remit through Chartered Mercantile 
Bank further twenty thousand pounds. Tirnea states this morning 
from Calcutta Government deprecates private charity. Unless officially 
contradicted will prevent further subscriptions. 

It was resolved that the following telegram be at 
once sent to the Lord Mayor of London : — 

Action Supreme Grovemment unaccountable. Here notorious 
no Government efforts can reach certain distressed classes, private 
agency can. Central Committee Madras manages fund, controlling 
Local Committees interior. Operations quite distinct from Govern- 
ment, not conflicting but supplementary. Large funds urgently re- 
quired, delay disastrous. 

An entry in the minute-book of the committee 
shows that a telegram of the same purport as those 
from the Lord Mayor and Sir Nathaniel Rothschild had 
been received by a firm in Madras.^ 

The meeting was held late in the evening, and what 
followed was not a little dramatic in its incidents. The 
honorary secretary called at the telegraph office on 
his way from the meeting, forgetful of an arrangement 
which had been made, viz., that in consideration of the 
interest which the Governor had taken in the move- 

* It is only fair to Sir William Robinson, chairman of the executive com- 
mittee, to state that he was not present at the meeting whence it was 
decided to telegraph ' Action Supreme Government unaccountable.' 


ment, his Grace should see all messages before they 
were despatched to the Mansion House, London. 
Later in the evening, letters were sent to the private 
secretaries of the Viceroy and the Governor respec- 
tively, containing copies of the telegram, and an account 
of the decision the meeting had come to, viz., not to 
interview Lord Lytton, but, instead, had determined to 
despatch a telegram to London, copy of which was 
enclosed. The letters were delivered just a sa party 
given in Lord Lytton's honour was breaking up. As 
at Bellary so in Madras, whilst all other conceivable 
topics in connection with the famine had been well 
threshed out in discussion, nothing had been said on the 
subject of private charity. It was not ' official ' business, 
and, though doubtless uppermost in the minds of all, 
was not refeiTed to. All parties were shy of bringing it 
forward, but with such a telegram as that which had 
gone to London, in which the conduct of the Supreme 
Government was described as 'unaccountable,' and 
their statement of being able to satisfactorily meet all 
distress distinctly denied, there was no possibility of 
further * fencing.' The Duke started in search of the 
Viceroy, and the Viceroy proceeded to look for the Duke. 
They met, and, rumour has it, discussed the question in 
all its bearings till long after midnight, the outcome 
being a message to the Lord Mayor from the Duke of 
Buckingham and Chandos, couched in the following 
terms: — * Message from the committee this evening went 
without approval, before I had opportunity of conferring 
with the Viceroy on the subject of The Times' re- 
port respecting statement at Calcutta to which you 
refer. Viceroy entirely concurs that every facility be 
afforded to contributions of private charity towards 
relieving those cases of distress amongst famine- 
stricken people of South India which Government 


organisation does not propose to, and cannot undertake 
to meet, but was, and is, averse to Government calling 
meetings for levying subscriptions from Indian people 
who may have to bear heavy famine taxation. Hence 
probable origin of report. Funds will be managed by 
a central relief committee at Madras, and local com- 
mittees, and not applied to relief of that distress which 
Government, by providing work and village relief, can 
meet/ A copy of this message was forwarded to the 
executive committee next morning. The Mansion 
House Committee managed their share in the unfortu- 
nate difference very skilfully, and served to allay the 
suspicion which was being aroused in England that dis- 
putation and wrangling were going on in India. 

Three days later, in a Gazette of India Extraordi- 
nary^ announcing the new arrangements made for the 
campaign, two letters appeared which — reluctant as the 
writer is to burden his pages with long documents— 
from their intrinsic importance must be quoted in full. 
They are as follows : — 


No. 773, Governor-General's Camp, Madras, August 31, 1877. 

From S. C. BAYLEY, Esq., C.S.I., 

Additional Secretary to the Government of India, 


Sir, — I am directed to forward, for the information of the Governor 
of Madras in Council, the accompanying copy of a letter which, under 
the direction of his Excellency the Viceroy, I have this day addressed 
to the Government of Bengal, in regard to the question of applying to 
the public for subscriptions in aid of famine relief. 

2. The immediate object of this letter was to explain to his 
Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal somewhat more fully than 



had been in the telegram of August 12, the views and wishes of the 
Grovemment of India in regard to appeals by Grovemment for public 
subscriptions, and it is desirable that his Grace should also be informed 
of the considerations which led his Excellency to adopt these views. 

3. With reference to paragraph 7 of the enclosed letter, I am 
directed to state that his Excellency finds on the proceedings of the 
committee^ held on August 24, a resolution that the fund should be 
devoted (1) to contributions in aid of local committees for the relief of 
necessitous poor not reached by the Government ; (2) To contributions 
towards the care of destitute children; (3) To making allotment 
towards any other special objects which seem to come within the scope 
and ability of the fund. The whole discussion tends to show that it was 
the desire of the committee to adapt its work to objects and measures 
of relief other than that already covered by the action of Government, 
but in considering the tenns by which the committee define 
the objects to which their funds will be devoted, the Viceroy fails to 
gather such complete and specific information on the point as he 
could desire. He has no objection whatever to the benefits of private 
charity being directed towards those necessitous poor whom the action 
of Government cannot reach, and accepts it as quite probable that 
among women of the respectable classes, among persons on very small 
fixed incomes, and even among agriculturists who are struggling to 
I'emain at their homes, there may be cases, which ought not to come 
within the scope of Grovemment action, but which may very properly 
be relieved by private charity wherever private charity has the neces- 
sary agency at its disposal. Similarly in regard to children, though 
Government is in one way or another endeavouring to keep alive all 
destitute or c»-phan children that may be thix)wn on its hands, there 
may well be room for private charity in regard to children not within 
this category, and moreover the work of pi-oviding for and supporting 
such childi^n hereafter, either by grants to orphanages or to those who 
will receive such children, is obviously a fit subject for private charity. 
His Excellency understands it was not the object of the committee 
to express, in a general resolution, specific rules or detailed instructions, 
but doubtless these will be drawn out hereafter. In the meantime, as 
Lord Lytton learns that the subject has been under the considei-ation 
of his Grace the Governor, he will be glad to receive information as 
to the conclusions which the Madras Government have come to, and 
to learn not only what are the specific objects in detail to which funds 
are to be devoted, but also what agency the Committee propose to 
employ both in large towns and in the interior for the attainment of 
those objects. In large towns there will no doubt be plenty of volun- 
* General Gonunittee, Madras Famine Relief Fund. 


teer agency available, but in the villages his Excellency apprehends 
that, outside the chain of relief organisation subordinate to the col- 
lector it will be difficult to find the requisite agency, and Lord Lytton 
deprecates the diversion of this organisation to purposes other than 
those of Government relief. This objection is not based on imaginary 
grounds. Experience has shown that, when the Government relief 
organisation has been placed under the orders of a central committee, 
it has led not only to the collectors being burthened with additional 
work, having to submit double sets of returns, and to correspond 
with an additional master, but also to a considerable amount of friction 
and some unseemly discussions between Grovemment officials and their 
superiors. His Excellency hopes therefore that the Government of 
Madras will be able to direct the operations of the committee into 
some line where the agency to be employed will not be that of the 
overworked establishment already employed by Government. 

No. 772, Governor-Genbbal's Camp, Madras, August 31, 1877. 

From S. 0. BAYLEY, Esq., C.S.I., 

Additional Secretary to the Government of India, 


Sir, — The attention of his Excellency the Viceroy has been drawn 
to certain correspondence which has passed between the Lord Mayor 
of London and the General Committee, Madras Famine Relief Fund, 
in regard to a private meeting held in Calcutta for forming a famine 
relief committee ; and from this correspondence it appears that con- 
siderable misapprehension exists as to his Excellency's views on the 
subject of appeals to the public in aid of famine relief. I am, there 
fore, directed to communicate to you, in continuation of the Viceroy's 
telegram of August 12, the views of the Government of India on this 
important subject. 

2. The Madras Government huve undertaken to keep people alive 
by all available means within their power ; they undertake to relieve 
the famine-stricken by giving work to those who can work ; by giving 
food and attendance either in relief camps or kitchens to famine- 
stncken people who cannot work, and they distribute relief in the 
shape of a money-dole to nearly a million of people at their villages ; 
but in order to do this the whole available organisation of the country 

F 2 


is strained to the very utmost, and it is impossible to place this organi- 
sation at the disposal of any irresponsible committee. 

3. Before, therefore, the Government of India could properly ask 
for, or even accept, the charitable assistance of the public, it would be 
necessary to ascertain what measures of relief, other than those already 
adopted by Government, the central committee propose to adopt, and 
what organisation, other than the Govei*nment organisation, is at their 
disposal for carrying out those measui^es. 

4. The Viceroy in his telegram of the 12th explained that he was 
unwilling 'to appeal for public subscriptions in aid of the efforts 
which Government was making to keep people alive,' that is to say, 
he was unwilling to ask for public subscriptions in order to supple- 
ment the Government expenditure on the same lines, for the same 
ends, and through the same channels of organisation as the Govern- 
ment had already occupied To have done this would be merely ask- 
ing for public subscriptions in aid of the Indian revenues, and it was 
unlikely on the one hand that the public would have cared to sub- 
scribe for this purpose, while on the other the assistance which such 
subscriptions could have given would have borne but an infinitesimal 
proportion to the expenditure of half a million sterling a month 
which the Government has already to defray on account of famine. 

5. There was another consideration which, in his Excellenc3r's 
opinion, rendered it specially inopportune to appeal to the Indian 
public for subscriptions in aid of Imperial expenditure on famine, so 
long especially as the objects and agency of such charity are not dis- 
tinctly and definitely separated from the objects and agency of Govern- 
ment expenditure. It had become manifest that, in order to meet 
the heavy drain on the finances of India, which the Madras and 
Bombay famines were already causing, the Government would sooner 
or later be obliged to resoi*t to increased taxation over the whole 
country, and it followed necessarily from the nature of the case that 
the very class from whom subscriptions might be expected would have 
to bear the burthen of taxation ; the Viceroy was, therefore, unwilling 
to ask for public subscriptions from the same persons who would 
hereafter have to bear a heavy burthen of taxation for precisely the 
same objects as those to which their subscriptions were to be devoted. 

6. This last consideration of course applies only to subscriptions 
raised in India, and in no way to appeals made in England ; but its 
importance is increased by the fact that in addition to the destitution 
in Madras, the Government have to face anticipated scarcity also over 
a great portion of Northern India. 

7. His Excellency in his telegram of the 12th instant added that, 
* If any definite objects can be Bpedfied which are beyond the scope of 


the operationB of Crovemment, and to which the subscriptions of the 
public can be usefully applied, there can be no objection.' At that 
time the Government of India had received no communication on the 
subject from the Government of Madras, and the newspaper reports 
of the public meetings left it quite uncertain whether the objects to 
which the committee destined their funds were those already provided 
by Government, or not : in fact, the telegram sent bome by the com- 
mittee to the Lord Mayor' leaves the question still open to the utmost 
doubt, and points rather to the assistance being devoted to relief works 
and relief camps, than to any fresh field of action. His Excellency has 
now, however, had an opportunity of conferring with the Government 
of Madras, and learns from his Grace the Duke of Buckingham tbat 
the committee propose to devote the funds received by them to special 
objects not coming within the scope of Government relief, two of which 
objects are understood to be the relief of those who are not yet so 
reduced as to leave their villages or to apply for Government assist- 
ance, and the support of orphans and destitute children not reached 
by Government agency. His Excellency is now in correspondence 
with the Government of Madras with a view to formulating some- 
what more precisely the objects to which private charity will be 
devoted and the agency through which it will be applied. 

8. While therefore it remains in the Viceroy's opinion undesirable 
for the Government itself to ask those who will hereafter have to bear 
the burthen of taxation on account of famine expenditure, to give their 
private subscriptions also towards the same object, his Excellency 
desires that every encouragement may be given to spontaneous efforts 
which may be made in this direction. Lord Lytton is very fai* from 
desiring to impede the flow of private charity, and is only anxious to 
secure that it should be devoted to useful purposes apart from those 
already taken up by the State, and that it should not be diverted into 
a simple contribution to the revenues of the State. 

The reply of the Government of Madras to the 
letter sent to them was prompt and effective in showing 
that the relief movement was not an official one. It 
I'an as follows (being signed by Mr. Garstin, Secretary 
to the Famine Deportment) : ' I am directed to acknow- 
ledge receipt of your letter of the 1st instant, No. 776, 

* ' Committee earnestly solicit your Lordship's powerful influence, sup- 
port, appeal, assistance, for afflicted population Southern India. . , . Pro* 
perty sold for food ; villages largely deserted ; poor wandering search sus- 
tenance ; resources lower middle class exhausted owing famine prices ; 
prompt liberal assistance sympathy may mitigate suffering.' 


and to state that the Madras Government have taken 
no part in the matter of applying to the public for 
subscriptions in aid of famine relief, although, at the 
request of the citizens of Madras, the head of the 
Government consented to preside at a public meeting 
convened by the sheriff to consider the advisability of 
appealing to England for such aid. 

' I am to add that your letter will be communicated 
at once to the general committee of the Madras Famine 
Relief Fund, with whom rests the duty of administer- 
ing the funds raised, with an intimation that the officers 
of Government in their official capacity will nowhere be 
allowed to be disbursers of any funds which may be 
placed at the committee's disposal, although the Go- 
vernment have no reason to suppose that the com- 
mittee are relying on the agency of State establishments 
for the administration of their private funds.' 

When referred to the relief committee, the corre- 
spondence was simply acknowledged, with an observa- 
tion that * the committee note the remark of Government, 
that Government servants in their official capacity will 
not be permitted to dispense the funds of the com- 
mittee, and that the wishes of the Government will be 
carefully observed.' This was clearly not the right 
answer to send. The Government of India asked for 
information, and they received a bald acknowledgment. 
Much inconvenience was subsequently caused by a want 
of frankness at this stage of affairs. 

As soon as money had been received in large sums 
the claims of other parts of India outside the Madras 
Presidency were considered. Early in September a 
grant of one lakh of rupees was made to Mysore, and 
half a lakh to the Deccan and Khandeish Committee at 
Bombay. Willingness was also expressed to send aid 
to Hyderabad, but Sir Richard Meade, the Resident, 


after conferring with Sir Salar Jung, came to the con- 
clusion that assistance was not needed. Grants were 
made on two occasions to Sir Henry Daly for distribu- 
tion to famine-stricken people in Central India. 

With the month of September a new departure was 
made by the committee in the direction of more 
efficiently and widely disbursing the funds which had 
been entrusted to them. Owing to various causes the 
process of forming committees in the mofussil was very 
slow, and it was determined to send two gentlemen — 
one north, the other south — into the districts for the 
purpose of reporting upon the state of aflPairs and 
forming committees. The delegates chosen were the 
Rev. J. M. Strachan, M.D., of the S.P.G. Mission, and 
F. Rowlandson, Esq., a solicitor of Madras. Their 
travelling expenses were provided for, and an honorarium 
of 1,000 rs. per month each was accorded. The in- 
structions given to the delegates were that they were 
to organise as far as possible local committees in 
different parts of the various distressed districts, to be 
in direct communication with the general relief com- 
mittee at Madras for distribution of famine funds. Also 
to organise special agencies where local committees 
could not be formed, or sub-agencies were likely to be 
more efficient. 

They were reminded that ' the fund was designed 
to relieve the necessitous poor whom Government can- 
not or do not reach, and care is necessary to avoid 
even indirect interference with Government operations. 
Under the above designation may be included those 
who are not ordinarily reckoned poor, but who are 
rendered dependent by the present distress. While 
Government operations have for their object the salva- 
tion of life, the funds may be legitimately applied to 
the mitigation of intense suffering.' The general com- 


mittee, they were informed, would be prepared to make 
pecuniary provision, if necessary (within reasonable 
limits), for preparing local accounts, and for all neces- 
sary expenses connected with the distribution of the 

These and other points were noticed to indicate 
generally the committee's wishes, but the deputation 
were left a wide discretion, and the committee relied 
on their making the best arrangements which the cir- 
cumstances in each locality admitted of, within the 
scope of the funds and the general principles above 
enunciated. The committee looked to the deputation 
for practical suggestions for the more efficient and 
prompt distribution of the funds, and the objects to 
which they or the local committee desired to apply 
them. Copies of these instructions were sent to the 
chief places in each district in advance, to prepare the 
way of the delegates, and were of much ser\dce in this 

Even this measure did not serve to remove all 
the difficulties in the way of forming committees. The 
Government of India were believed to be still averse 
to private charity, and official and ^t/at9/-official assist- 
ance was therefore not given ; indeed, more than 
negative harm was done — positive evil resulted. The 
executive committee, on September 19, therefore deter- 
mined to take advantage of the Viceroy's continued 
presence in the Presidency, to procure permission for 
officials in their citizen capacity to render service. His 
Grace the Governor was with his Excellency the Go- 
vernor General at Coimbatore when the following 
telegram was despatched from the executive committee 
in Madras : * Famine relief committee respectfully 
suggest publication of an announcement by your Grace's 
Government that there is no objection to the cordial 
co-operation on the part of Government servants in the 


distribution of the almost national chatity of the 
English people which is reaching this committee. In 
the absence of such announcement the committee an- 
ticipate great difficulty in meeting the expectations of 
subscribers. Mofussil committees can scarcely be 
formed without the aid of collectors, judges, and 
others. Our information shows that officers of all 
grades seem doubtful as to the propriety of co-operating 
under existing circumstances. It is very desirable that 
this doubt should be removed.' Letters were also sent 
officially to Government embodying the foregoing 
statements. The Governor conferred with the Viceroy, 
and at a meeting of the executive committee held in 
the following week, the Chief Secretary of Government, 
Mr. D. F. Carmichael, attended, and handed in a copy 
of a notification just issued from the press — damp to 
the touch, as all freshly printed matter is — which was 
as follows : ' It is the desire of Government that public 
servants of all grades should give all the assistance they 
can render, without detriment to their official duties, to 
the formation of local committees, and generally to 
promote the object which the famine relief committee 
and subscribers to the famine relief fund have in 
view.' This removed all doubt and difficulty, and 
with one or two exceptions Government servants most 
zealously assisted in the work of relief. Conspicuous 
among them were the sessions judges, whose labours in 
North Arcot (Mr. C. G. Plumer), South Arcot (Mr. 
0. B. Irvine), Tinnevelly (Mr. F. CuUing-Carr), 
Trichinopoly (Mr. E. Forster Webster), Tanjore (A. C. 
Burnell, Ph.D.), Chingleput(Mr. J. Hope), Coimbatore 
(Mr. F. M. Kindersley), Salem (Mr. J. Gordon), Kur- 
nool (Hon. J. C. St. Clair), were beyond all praise. 

Early in October the executive committee deter- 
mined (on the suggestion of the lionorary secretary) 
to publish a weekly statement of their proceedings, for 


distribution in Great Britain and elsewhere, and gener- 
ally in India. It was determined to publish reports 
from local committees and other information likely to 
be of interest to subscribers as well as calculated to 
help the various committees in carrying on their work. 
A ^ statement committee ' was appointed to arrange for 
the periodical publication of the statement. It consisted 
of two members and the honorary secretary, but one 
of these declined service, and only one gentleman (the 
Very Rev. J, Colgan) saw the proofs of the statement 
before publication. The * Weekly Statement' was of 
foolscap size ; its average contents covered 60 pages — 
ranging from 40 as a minimum to 88 as a maximum. 
It was a source of great satisfaction to the committee 
to know that their efforts to make public all their pro- 
ceedings proved very gratifying to subscribers. The 
full publication of facts was also likely to be of benefit 
should similar efforts be needed in the future. Materials 
now exist which can be used as a guide. Had such 
been available during the famine in Madras more good 
might have been done with the money subscribed, with 
less delay than occurred. The executive committee 
had to ^ make ' its experience. 

Early in October the committee, finding it had con- 
trol of nearly fifty lakhs of rupees, and that its existing 
system of making grants in response to applications 
did not provide adequate means for disposal of the 
money, determined to make allotments proportionate to 
districts. Thirty-six lakhs were taken for this purpose, 
and the remainder reserved to meet claims outside the 
scope of the allotments, such as the proportion for 
Mysore, Bombay, and other places. It was also under- 
stood that as the amount subscribed increased the 
amounts could be proportionately added to. Mr. Gr. A. 
Ballard, member of the Board of Revenue, who was 
upon the committee, expressed his willingness to prepare 



a statement in accordance with these suggestions. This 
was done, the basis of allotment being the intensity of 
distress as revealed in Government reports. The 
method of calculation adopted was briefly this ; the 
number of persons in Government relief of all sorts 
was taken and compared with the total population as 
indicating the intensity of distress in the various dis- 
tricts. The proportion of agriculturists to the general 
population was taken fron the census returns. One- 
third of the 36 lakhs was apportioned to non-agricul- 
turists, whilst the remainder (24 lakhs) was apportioned 
to the agriculturists paying under 50 rs. Government 

The results worked out a fair idea of distribution. 
They had been modified to some slight extent from 
general information available, and it was believed the 
statement given below might be accepted as being an 
equitable allotment. On further consideration it was 
found there were not data for properly distributing the 
sums to subdivisions or taluks, and it was thought that 
operation might safely be left to the local committees, 
assisted as they were by Revenue and other Government 
officers of experience. Particulars were as follows : — 

DiBTRiBvnoK OF 36 Lakhs of Famute Relibf Funds. 

Allotment to 


Allotment to non- 




generally patta- 
dars under 60 rs. 




L Bellary 




2. Salem . 




3. Kiumool 




4. Ouddapah . 




5. Goirobatore . 




6. North Arcot 




7. South Arcot 




8. Ghingleput . 




9. Madura 




10. Nellore 

Total . 








This plan was adopted, and applications then before 
the committee were dealt with on the basis of this 
scheme. For the guidance of local committees it was 
decided that a letter should be prepared, of which the 
following is a copy of that sent to the honorary secretary 
of the local committee at Kurnool : — 

The Madrajs general famine relief committee believe tbat tiieir 
operations and those of the respective local committees will be facilitated 
and rendered more effective if a fairly definite idea is arrived at as to 
the amount of relief to be distributed in different localities. 

2. The general committee find they are in a position efficiently to 
allot sums to collectorates, and perhaps to taluks. The arrangement 
of the farther more minute territorial and individual allotments will 
fall to the local committees and sub-committees under the general 
principles that have been, or may be from time to time, indicated. 

3. Local and sub-committees had been pretty generally formed 
already, but the general committee is not satisfied that all parts of the 
distressed tracts come within their action. If there are any tracts 
that have been hitherto omitted it is very desirable they should now 
be arranged for either by bringing them under an existing local com- 
mittee, or by a new committee or agency being forthwith started. 

4. The general committee find that the sum for apportionment 
over the Kurnool collectorate will not fall short of ^ve lakhs of rupees. 
The committee consider this sum may be best utilised by distributing 
approximately one-third to relief of the general distressed population, 
and two-thirds to assist agricultural operations by money grants for 
hire of bullocks, for seed grain, implements, &c. Crenerally the relief 
should be given to ryots whose puttas are under 50 rs. 

5. In the Kurnool collectorate there is one local committee at 
Kurnool. Does this committee operate over all the taluks noted ^ 
directly or through local sub-committees or agencies 1 If not, I am 
to request your committee will be good enough to take the earliest 
possible opportunity of conferring with the collector, and with the 
collector's concurrence, if necessary with any of the division or taluk 
officers, and arrange either for bringing the taluks where relief has not 
hitherto been provided for within the scope of your own operations, or 
recommend to this committee how the said taluks may best be reached 
and receive their due share of relief. 

6. The committee will be glad to have the local committee's 

^ 1. Pattikonda. 2. Ramulkota. 8. Nundikotkur. 4. Markapur. 6. 
Cumbum. 6. Nundial. 7. Sirwel. 8. Koilguntla. 

^ • 

■■ .\ 

i * 


. k 

V ^ X 



remarkB as to proportionate aUotments to different taluks. It will 
tend to avoid confusion if revenue territorial divisions are adhered to 
as &r as possible in apportioning grants to oommittees and agencies. 

By the first week in November the task of organising 
local committees, sub-committees, and agencies was 
complete, and the two gentlemen who went on deputa- 
tion returned to Madras. Their labours had been very 
successful : where committees were already in existence 
the delegates were useful in stimulating and directing 
action, particularly with regard to the outlying taluks, 
whilst, where no committee formerly existed, good 
working bodies of members were formed. The con- 
sequence was that, speaking generally, there was not 
in November a taluk in the whole of the distressed 
districts which was not, more or less completely, feeling 
the benefit of the unexampled generosity of England, 
the Colonies, and some Continental countries, in the lat- 
ter being included France — which subscribed through the 
Catholic missionaries, — and Germany and Switzerland — 
the two countries last named sending nearly 40,000 rs. to 
the Basel missionaries who labour in the western portion 
of the Madras Presidency and in the southern districts 
of Bombay. From the Kistna river to Cape Comorin 
most active relief operations were proceeded with, some 
of the distributors labouring in their self-imposed task 
with much energy and sacrifice. One gentleman spent 
over a week in a bullock cart visiting the distressed 
villages in a part of the region covered by the committee 
to which he belonged, giving aid to those whose cases 
had been previously investigated, and making further 
enquiries himself. This solitary instance would need 
to be multiplied vastly if justice were done to the zeal 
and discretion with which the funds were distributed. 
The various proceedings of committees published from 
time to time showed the wisdom of many of the ar- 


rangements made by sub-committees. The general 
committee felt that the discretion given to the sub-com- 
mittees had been most wisely used, and the determin- 
ation early arrived at, not to fetter their action with 
rules which local circumstances might render inoperative 
or mal a propos^ was justified by events. By the first 
week in November over twenty-two lakhs of rupees had 
been placed at the command of local committees. The 
feeling, however, was general in the executive commit- 
tee, that the money was not being distributed fast 
enough ; and at a meeting held on October 25 a minute 
by Mr. Ballard, indicating the necessity for a prompt 
and early distribution of the funds, was read. It was 
as follows : — 

1. At page 5 of the * Madras Famine Weekly Statement/ No. 5, 
will be seen a distribution of 36 lakhs of famine relief funds over 
ten distressed districts. The principles on which this distribution was 
arrived at are briefly indicated. 

The arrangement as a whole was adopted by the executive com- 
mittee, it being understood that in distributing the sums to districts, 
any considerable amount (say amounts aggregating over 1,000 rs.) 
should be deducted and the balance only allotted. 

2. It was also, I think, pretty generally understood that approxi- 
mately two-thirds of the above amount should be devoted to assist 
agricultural operations. There were various reasons for this resolu- 
tion. I do not see them anywhere succinctly recorded, so it may not 
be out of place to indicate them here. 

3. Non-interference with Government relief has all along been 
strongly insisted on by Government and desired by the committee. - 
After the General Order of September 24 last, it was understood 
that Government particularly desired that fnmine relief funds should 
not be given (without the most careful discrimination) to persons who 
had previously been on Government relief, but who under the action 
or spirit of that order ceased to be relieved. Numbers who were 
struck off village dole, and discharged from open camps and small 
relief works, refused to go to close camps or large relief works at a 
distance from their villages. It was argued that to support or assist 
these people from famine relief funds to any great extent would tend 
to defeat the purposes of Government. 


But if this large class, and the distressed still reoeiving CrOTem- 
ment relief, are eliminated, it seems clear that a comparatively small 
number of distressed will remain, save amongst the lower middle or 
poor agriculturists proper, t.e., amongst the ryots. 

It seemed that large numbers of these, if not actually starving 
(though instances of starvation were not wanting), were in very poor 
physical condition, whilst still larger numbers were bereft of all means 
of carrying on agricultural operations. 

It was felt that if these could be reached in time many would be 
kept from the necessity of leaving their homes for Government works. 
Many would be enabled to cultivate their fields, sensibly helping 
towards increasing the food supplies of the country, and that thus 
by helping them liberally with money from famine relief funds an 
amount of direct and indirect benefit would be done not only indi- 
vidually but collectively which could hardly be achieved in any other 
way. The relief to the agriculturists must be given now. That to 
other classes can be extended over the time that pressure lasts. The 
communications the committee have received from Government 
officers, private individuals, missionaries, drc., show remarkable con- 
sensus of opinion that relief could be most efficiently given by dis- 
tributing largely to the agricultural population. 

But all agree that tfhe rrwneT/ skotUd be put in tJte hands of the 
people with the least possible delay. 

4. The distribution of one-third and two-thirds of the allotments 
amongst agriculturists and non-agriculturists, was accordingly pro- 
posed as, though an arbitrary, a fair, practical basis to work upon. 

The essence of the success of the scheme, however, as far as the 
agriculturists are concerned, is to get the money forthwith into their 
hands, so as to keep them at home and help on with their cultivation 
during the present season. 

5. I think the position indicated above has been theoretically 
taken up by the committee. Practically we seem to hesitate to act 
upon it. When any considerable grants are proposed there seem 
lingering doubts as to whether we are justified in making them now, 
whether we should not only make small disbursements at present, 
whether we should not husband the i*elief funds so that they may 
extend over four months or so, and that we may continue paying in 
driblets over that jieriod. 

6. It is open to us still to adopt this latter system if we please. 
Only, if we are to do so, let us adopt this and reject the other 
deliberately. At present there does seem some danger that whilst the 
former plan stands approved in principle, the time for carrying it out 
may be allowed to slip away by mere indecision in action. 


7. I therefore intend proposing at next meeting as a formal reso- 
lution : — 

i. That the full allotments to agriculturists (generally puttadars 
imder 50 rs.) entered at page 5 of the ' Weekly Beport ' 
No. 5 (deducting allotments aggregating 1,000 rs. or up- 
wards in any case) be sent out to the respectire \o(xA 
committees forthwith, with injunctions to arrange indi- 
vidual distribution in the taluks with the least possible 
iL That 25 per cent, of the allotments to non-agriculturists 
(with similar reservation as to sums already sent) be also 
sent out at once to the local committees, with intimation 
that balances are available to make them further similar 
remittances. That these further remittances will be made 
in communication with the local committees, but that 
this committee requests it may be borne in mind that 
casual assistance may be required to relieve distress till 
January or February. 

8. I am only too well aware that the agricultural season may 
almost be considered as passed in some places, and is rapidly passing 
everywhere. Still, in my humble opinion a more efficient use of our 
funds cannot be made. 

As the question is one of the gravest importance, I have put it in 
this fonn. If the resolutions are seconded and carried, they can be 
acted on at once. If they are not approved, I trust that amended 
resolutions or other resolutions may be put forth and adopted for 
action to be taken on them. 

9. Even with the immediate distribution proposed, 15,00,000 rs. 
will remain for distribution in Madras districts not included in the 
above, in Mysore and elsewhere — and to supplement, if necessaiy, the 
sums now recommended to be distributed. 

I do not think I can be wrong in appending to these remarks a 
General Order just received. It seems to me that by putting money 
at once into the hands of the ryots we can most efficiently aid what 
Government here desire. 


Fcimine EeUef, 

No. 489. Proceedings of Government, dated October 15, 1877, 
Famine Belief, No. 2,331. 


The Governor in Council has, by a telegraphic order of the 
13th instant, called the attention of collectors to the importance of 
utilising to the utmost the present fevourable change 
in the season. The recent rainfall has materially 
restored the condition of growing crops ; many crops are being now 
harvested ; land is nearly everywhere in a fit state for cultivation ; 
and the rains of the north-east monsoon may be shortly expected. 
Prices have been gradually declining. In this state of the country it 
is of the utmost importance to its future prosperity that every exertion 
should be at once made to induce, encourage, and facilitate the return 
of people to their own homes and ordinary occupations. There may not 
unnaturally exist some feeling of hesitation amongst many, especially 
amongst those who have wandered from their own districts, to leave 
their present shelter, but the interests of the conntfy demand that 
every available hand shall be turned to agriculture, and every exertion 
used to increase and expedite the growth of the newly-sown crops, on 
which the people must rely to restore the prices of food-grains to a 
normal state. 

2. That this necessity is appreciated by the people is evinced by 
the fact that large numbers have already of their own accord left 
works and camps for agricultural employ, and that in many districts 
the area cultivated is larger than usual at this period. Yet in these 
districts more, and in others much, can be done, and no divisional 
officer should feel satisfied while any available land in his division 
remains uncultivated. 

3. The Governor in Council desires also to impress on collectors 
the uigent necessity for reducing, as rapidly as may be, the numbers 
who are receiving State charity on relief works, in relief camps, d^., 
and consequently of flimmiRhmg the heavy drain on current ex- 

4. The general principles on which relief is to be administered are 
already laid down in General Order of September 24, No. 2,847. The 
Government have spared no pains to relieve and sustain, and also to pro- 
vide employment for, the people ; now, however, agricultural or other 
usual employment is obtainable, and district officers must take care that 
the measures which were necessary for relief of the famine-stricken are 
not converted into a prolonged demoralising and pauperising charity. 

5. A judicious but firm application of the t<3sts and limitations laid 
down in the Government Order referred to will prevent the danger 
while meeting any necessity ; but laxity or indecision in any district 
may not improbably result in the continued dependence of a large 
pauperised population on State aid through another year. 

6. Where the numbeiB on relief works are materially diminished, 

VOL. II. li 


proportionate diminution should be made in the establishments, and 
labour should be consolidated so as to economise supervision. When 
the numbers in camps are materially diminished, subordinate estab- 
lishments should be also diminished or otherwise utilised, permanent 
officers of the districts being allowed to resume their ordinary work. 
The general relief organisation of a district, howeyer, is not to be 
reduced or broken up until further instructions from the Government, 
the nature of which will be regulated by the advent and extent of the 
monsoon rains. 

7. The Crovemor in Council has had before him applications for 
sanction.for many new works of a petty and local character, the pos- 
sible benefit to arise from which can only be of a purely temporary 
character. He considers such works undesirable, but does not, how- 
ever, desire to fetter the discretion of collectors, and therefore will not 
generally refuse to sanction works recommended by them ; but the 
sanction will only be accorded upon the distinct understanding that 
collectors, before recommending any works for sanction, satisfy them- 
selves that such works are essential to the proper extent of relief, and 
are not urged from motives of purely local interest, or instigated by 
subordinates who hope for an opportunity to make an illicit gain from 
the relief expenditure. 

(True Extract.) 

(Signed) J. H. Garstin, 

AddUioTud Secretary to Government. 

To the Collectors of Kistna, Nellore, Cuddapah, Bellary, Kumool, 
North Arcot, Chingleput, South Arcot, Tanjore, Trichinopoly, Madura, 
Tinnevelly, Coimbatore, Salem, Commissioner of the Nilgiris, Board 
of Revenue, with a copy of telegram, dated October 13, 1877, No. 28 ; 
Financial Department, with a copy of telegram, dated October 13, 
1877, No. 28 ; Public Works Department, with copy of telegram, 
dated October 13, 1877, No. 28. 

After some discussion the resolutions were agreed 
to, and a third added in the following terms : — * The 
general committee, whilst indicating the above propor- 
tion of distribution, do not wish to bind the local 
committees by any hard and fast line. The general 
committee leave to the local committees, and look to 
them to exercise, a judicious discretion in making actual 
distribution both in regard to classes of the population 


and in regard to individuals.' These resolutions were 
printed as a memorandum and forwarded to all commit- 
tees and agencies next day. Thenceforward the work 
of distribution proceeded with little delay or interrup- 

A most pleasing feature of the period under notice 
was the entente cordiale which was renewed between his 
Excellency the Viceroy and the disbursers of the relief 
fund. This was made manifest in the foUowinsr letter 
to the honorary secretary : — 


Oovemment House, Simla, Sept. 30, 1877. 

My dear Sir, — The Viceroy desires me to write to you in regard 
to the intimation, which he conveyed to you when at Madras, of his 
desire to subscribe to the general relief fund as soon as the objects to 
which the fund is to be devoted should be specially defined. 

His Excellency has now ascertained from the Madras Government, 
and from your instructions to the delegates of the committee, the 
general purposes on which the fund will be expended ; and although 
he hopes to learn hereafter that these purposes have been somewhat 
more minutely defined in communication with the Madras Govern- 
ment, he is satisfied that they have been planned with a careful desire 
to avoid clashing with those of Government organisation, and that 
they are such as the Government of India can fully approve. His 
Excellency regrets that there has been some delay in obtaining this 
information, but he is anxious to lose no further time in adding his 
name to the subscription list of the relief fund, and I am accordingly 
directed to enclose, with the expression of his Excellency's best 
wishes for the continued success of your efforts, a draft for ten thou* 
sand rupees. 

I remain, my dear Sir, 

Yours faithfully, 


Lt.'CoL a/nd Private Secretary 

to the Viceroy, 
Wm. Digby, Esq., 

Hon, Secreta/ry^ Famwne Belief Fund* 





Nothing could have been simpler than the procedure 
adopted by the Mansion House Committee in its direc- 
tion of the vast national fund which was speedily raised. 
This was in keeping with the manner in which the 
movement was started — quietly, unostentatiously.. The 
promoters, however, were pleaders in behalf of real 
distress and much suffering, such distress and suffering 
as served to touch the British heart very closely. For 
once the remark, *A trifling casualty nigh at hand 
absorbs more attention and occupies more interest than 
the welfare of hundreds of thousands at a distance ' was 
proved untrue. Space was annihilated, and with the 
absence of all sensationalism, or anything that could be 
called such, a real and lively interest was established be- 
tween the British and the Indian people which continued 
at the flood for many months. According to the testi- 
mony of the Mansion House Committee, much of this 
interest was created by the means used by the Madras 
executive committee to keep all interested au courant 
with the condition of the people and the efforts made 
to alleviate distress. Among other means adopted 
were weekly telegrams which, upon receipt, were posted 
outside the Mansion House, and sent to all the news- 
papers. The following are messages sent out at the 
dates named ; they will serve to show the impressions 
formed by the disbursing committees of their work: — 


To the Lard Mayor, London. 

This week has heen the busiest in the committee's experience. 
All throngh the distressed districts the utmost activity is being dis- 
played by the relief committees, who are disbursing the funds most 
carefully. An enquiry from house to house in the villages has been 
made, and the lists have been scrutinised with the greatest care. The 
reports from the local committees and agencies give most interesting 
descriptions of the gratitude shown by the recipients, and particulars 
of the benefits derived from the frind. These reports appear in the 
' Weekly Statement ' posted to England to-day. The recipients are made 
clearly to understand that the relief comes from English friends. One 
distributor writes : — ^ I should like you and your friends in England 
to see the expression of thankfrdness upon their dark, careworn, 
haggard &ces. A chord has been struck which probably never was 
touched before.' Some cases of agriculturists, especially in the Nellore 
district, are most disheartening. In the first sowing the seed rotted ; 
in the second the yomig plants were eaten by grasshoppers. In these 
cases advances had been made by Government, and now a grant from 
the relief committee has put new life in the people, and courage to 
try again. The mortality returns of August are still coming in. They 
all tell the same stoiy of a greater number of deaths that month than 
in any other period of fJEunina In South Aroot, for instance, the in- 
crease over the average of that month of the last five years is 10,033 ; 
Ghingleput, 7,613 ; Cuddapah, 9,340 ; Kumool, 6,769 ; Madura, 7,198. 
Next week we hope to have the complete returns for August* In 
Mysore the destitution and death-rate have been very bad ; but though 
the actual statistics are not yet to hand, an improvement is reported. 
Weather fine, with passing clouds ; wind north-east, but rain holding 
ofL Beports from the Ganjam and EJstna districts show that the 
rain is greatly needed there, the Crodaveiy river, fed by the south- 
west monsoon, having been lower than in any previous September in 
many years. Irrigation in the Godavery system much affected in 

Madras, October 23. 

To London, to Lord Mayor. 

Operations being continued. New tracts, Trichinopoly and Tinne- 
velly, been brought within scope action. One president of committee 
writes : — ' The closer you look into matters, and the better you know 
the people, the more you see how fearfully widely spread is the present 


distress, borne by the poor creatures in dumb resignation to fate, and 
with scarcely a murmur.' The general committee's delegates have 
visited all districts. Now there is not a taluk or zemindaiy not 
included in range operations. Arrangements made by taluk com- 
mittees many cases admirable, the most deserving of the people being 
reached and assisted. Utmost advantage is being taken of favourable 
rains interior, and the aid from England enabling cultivators very 
small holdings commence sowing, <kc., la simply incalculable. Every 
exertion is being made by central, local, and sub-committees and 
agencies to make most present opportunity. Ascertained death-rate, 
August, largest on record. Letters from England received mail^ 
especially Mansion House and Manchester, much appreciated. Wind, 
weather Madras variable. Partial showers general and frequent 
throughout Presidency, except Madras. Eainfall above Ghats more 
steady and general ; prospects improved, save parts coast in Godavery, 
Delta, Kistna, and Ganjam. Further aid been allotted fiunine im- 
migrants Central India through Sir Henry Daly. Small allotment 
unofficial efforts in Nizam's dominions. 

October 27, 1877. 

To LondoUj Lord Ma/yor. 

AJl possible exertions are being made to turn the &vourable 
weather to good acoouvit. The organisation is now complete. Over 
100 committees are actively at work, with excellent results. In the 
interior, where the greatest difficulty as to the disbursement was 
anticipated, generally satisfiu^ry arrangements have been made. 
The members of the committees are making the most self-denying 
and earnest efforts to bring the maximum number of people within 
the scope of the fimd. One European gentleman lived for a week in 
a bullock ' bandy ' among villagers, disbursing aid to people whose 
cases had been previously enquired into. This is but a sample of 
earnest and energetic efforts of the committees. At Trichinopoly, 
when the committee was formed, the late Prime Minister of Travan- 
oore, Sheshai Sastri, proposed that the Madras Committee should 
convey to the English public the high sense of thankfulness and 
gratitude of the people of Trichinopoly for their noble liberality in 
having come forward to aid the inhabitants of India in this distress. 
Weather 'monsoonish' and feivourable in most districts. Latest 
Government reports, dated October 31, say of Ganjam — ' Here, rain 
urgently wanted. Crops withering.' Of Godavery there is a similar 
report. The favourable season leads to a rapid reduction of people 
on Government relief, yet this month (November) began with 


1,862,329 people on works and gratidtous relief. Our committees 
forecast that relief will be required to support life till February, when 
crops are expected. Already eight ]akhs of rupees have been allotted 
to Mysore, of whioh five have been actually remitted. Australia is 
rendering appreciable assistance. 

Madras, November 3, 1877. 

To London^ Lord Mayor. 

Beports from all districts of committee's operations continue 
satisfebctoiy. Excluding Bombay, thirty relief centres, but includ- 
ing Mysore with Madras Presidency nearly 150 committees ; probably 
three or four thousand English, Eurasiao, Indian gentlemen engaged 
in work of relief. Amount expended and in course of expenditure to 
date over 300,000^. sterling. During next few months till crops 
reaped operations will continue, and munificent generosity Great 
Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius, non-distressed portions 
India — eighty-two lakhs in all — will enable general committee, 
Madras, meet all demands. Impression produced by marvellous 
generosity, especially England, most profound. Perfect and entire 
unanimity between officials and our committees exists; the maximum 
of good attainable is being secured. Weather continiung favourable ; 
many people leaving Crovemment relief, returning to agriculture and 
trades. Majority these need help to begin life again, being absolutely 
homeless, without clothes, without money. In some parts too much 
rain falling. Seed sown late rotting in ground; dry crops part of 
Bellary district quite spoiled, necessitating help to those who month 
ago seemed beyond assistance. Committees will continue weekly 
telegrams of progress if wished, and reports published each mail- 
day will be forwarded till distress over. Please wire this Lancashire 
and elsewhere. 

Madras, November 10, 1877. 

The Mansion House Committee met weekly, but 
arrangements were made for the receipt of money 
continuously, and the officials of the fund were kept 
very busy day by day, as contributions flowed in fast. 
Many letters breathing the deepest sympathy with 
the sufferers were received by the Lord Mayor, frooi 


amongst which that from Miss Florence Nightingale 
may be selected. She wrote: — 

London, August 17, 1877. 

My Lord, — If English people know what an Lidian Famine is — 
•worse than a hatUefield, worse even than a retreat ; and this famine, 
too, is in its second year — ^there is not an English man, woman, 
or child, who would not give out of their abundance, or out of their 

K we do not, we are the Turks who put an end to the wounded, 
and worse than they, for they put an end to the enemy's wounded ; but 
we, by neglect to our own starving fellow-subjects ; and there is not a 
more industrious being on the &ce of the earth than the ryot. He 
deserves all we can do. Having seen youi* advertisement this morning 
only, and thanking God that you have initiated this relief, I hasten 
to enclose what I can — 251.; hoping that I may be able to repeat the 
mite again ; for all will be wanted. Between this and January our 
fellow-creatures in India will need everybody's mite — given now at 
once — then repeated again and again. And may Qod bless the 

Fray believe me, my Lord, ever your faithful servant, 

Florence Niohtinqale. 

The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor. 

By way of extending operations, communications 
were opened with all the provincial mayors and 
provosts throughout the United Kingdom, and there 
were few who did not respond, some in a very 
generous manner. A similar appeal — a circular setting 
forth in brief terms the distress being experienced — 
was sent to the ministers and clergy of all denomina- 
tions, asking them, if practicable, to have collections in 
their respective places of worship. By these means, 
in small sums, millions of people became partakers in 
the act of charity, making it truly national. Com- 
munications were also sent to the chief municipal 
functionaries of Australasia, with great results of good. 
Most of the British Colonies, however, contributed 
without being solicited to do so. The work of the Man- 


sion House Committee was kept very practical in its 
aims and efforts through the presence upon it of In- 
dian administrators like Sir Henry Norman and the 
Earl of Northbrook, and of a number of Indian 

By way of experiment, a money-box was, early in 
September, attached to the railings of the Mansion 
House during the business hours of the day, and the 
result was the collection on that day of 10/. 125. U)d. in 
coin of all kinds. A noticeable subscription paid in 
on one occasion was that of 21. from the children of the 
Board Schools in Sun Lane, Norwich, and with it was 
sent the suggestion that if a similar collection was 
made in the 14,000 schools of the kingdom a sum 
might be obtained that would equal, if not exceed, the 
church offertories. Another contributor urged that a 
public appeal should be made for ^ a million sixpences/ 
^Connaught Street, W/ wrote that a house-to-house 
subscription in that street of fifty-nine houses resulted 
in one day in 20/. 5^. being added to the Lord 
Mayor's fund. Seven householders had already sub« 
scribed through other channels, and fourteen were away 
from London. He suggested that if responsible persons 
in other parts of the metropolis would likewise visit 
all the dwellers in their streets and explain the nature 
and urgency of the crisis, the result could not fail to be 
a very handsome addition to the fund. A Wesleyan 
minister at Birkenhead, who sent 24/. from his Sunday 
scholars, suggested that an appeal should be made to 
the Sunday schools. He said : ^ I cannot but think 
there would be a handsome response. Have we not 
20,000 schools that could send 1/. each?' 

At a meeting of the Common Council of the City 
of London it was unanimously resolved to contribute 
the sum of 1,000/. towards the fund. Mr. HodsoU 


Heath, speaking upon the question, expressed his 
opinion that private charity, munificently as it was 
being bestowed, would go but a small way to meet the 
vast requirements of the famine-stricken population, 
and that it was the province of the Government, 
primarily, to undertake eflfectually the work of relief. 
It was impossible to relieve sixteen millions of people 
by private subscriptions. The Lord Mayor's conduct in 
opening the fund was warmly approved, and his Lord-* 
ship took occasion to thank the generous subscribers to 
it, and especially the local mayors who were working 
hard in the matter. The Government, he added, were 
doing what they could. 

Several influential weekly newspapers opened lists 
among their subscribers and materially added to the 
fund. On one day, early in the history of the fund, 
two Grecians called at the Mansion House and paid in 
28/. which had been subscribed by the scholars of 
Christ's Hospital. There were very few public schools 
— or private ones either, for that matter — ^which did 
not make contributions to the fund. An interesting 
fact in the history of the fund raised in India was 
that the students of Bengal, through the Rev. K. S. 
Macdonald, contributed largely. The children of 
Anglo-Indian parents at school in the United Kingdom 
were very active in contributing to a fond which was 
to relieve the race to which their ayahs and bearers 
belonged. Everybody who had little ones at home had 
some story to tell of the kindly feeling evinced by 
their children: from among the multitude ot stories 
told one may be selected. Three children were at 
school in England and heard of the distress in India ; 
the two elder ones (girls) at once agreed to give up a 
trip to the sea-side that the money might be sent to the 
Mansion House. They also asked to be allowed to do 

'isn't the famine over yet, auntie?' 91 

without butter on their bread and sugar in their tea, 
that the money might be sent to the fund. This was 
permitted. * I don't want butter or sugar,' said their 
little brother. So he was allowed to take the self- 
denying ordinance, and continued bravely for a week, 
when he went to the relative in whose charge he and 
his sisters were, and said : — ' Auntie : isn't the famine 
over yet? I think it is.' Of course it came to an end 
at once for that warm-hearted little feilow. 

The Chief Rabbi of London called upon his co- 
religionists to subscribe ; in the course of his appeal he 
said : — * It is but a few days ago that our congregations 
were asked to alleviate the misery of the unhappy 
victims of the war ; and I am glad to learn that the 
appeals on behalf of the Turkish Sufferers' Relief Fund 
are being satis&ctorily responded to. But the calamity 
which has befallen our fellow-subjects in Southern 
India is of such magnitude, and the need for immediate 
help is so pressing, that I dare not delay making this 
request to you. During the sacred festivals which are 
approaching you will on several occasions address your 
congregation* I ask that on the day you deem most 
fitting you would plead to your congregants on behalf 
of the millions who are suffering by the dire and 
dreadful famine that is raging in India. You will, 
then, I am sure, point out to your hearers how necessary 
it is that the efforts of the Indian Government in coping 
with this terrible calamity should be supplemented by 
private bounty. You will impress the sacred truth 
upon your worshippers that with our sincere penitence 
and devout prayer must be combined practical benevo- 
lence, and you will remind them of the inspired bidding 
of the prophet which he proclaims in discoursing of the 
fast acceptable to the Lord : " Is it not to deal thy bread 
to the starving ? " I leave it to your judgment and the 


discretion of your wardens whether it be advisable to 
make a special collection among the members of your 
synagogue, or whether you will call upon them to 
forward their generous contributions direct to the 
Mansion House fund, or, in the case of provincial con- 
gregations, to the local fund. May the Lord speedily 
remove the scourge of famine from the Indian Empire, 
and grant us all a year of happiness, a year of peace, 
prosperity, and salvation/ 

By the first week in September money was received 
at the Mansion House at the rate of 7,000/. per diem, 
but the tide was only rising, and shortly after 10,000/. 
per day were received for several days. The amount 
was received in sums varying from the copper coin 
dropped into the box outside the Mansion House to a 
cheque for 1,000/. from a London banker or merchant ; 
164,000/. was raised in three weeks. The maximum 
sum received on any one day was 12,000/., on Sep- 
tember 21. In barely six weeks the sum of a quarter 
of a million sterling was received. This amount was the 
spontaneous and voluntary oflfering, not only of the 
merchants and bankers of the City of London, but of 
all classes throughout the country, from Her Majesty 
downwards ; and was a remarkable proof — ^if any such 
were needed — of the heartfelt sympathy with which their 
fellow-subjects in India were regarded at that most 
critical period. The collection of so vast a sum naturally 
cast a good deal of anxious work upon the chief magis- 
trate, his secretary, and the small staff at the Mansion 
House, but, with the aid of the energetic committee, 
everything proceeded successfully. A telegram announc- 
ing that a quarter of a million had been exceeded, and 
that the fund was still likely to increase, was despatched 
to Her Majesty the Queen by the Lord Mayor, and a 
formal communication of the fact was made to the 


Prime Minister.^ The Empress of India acknowledged 
the intimation of Sir Thomas White by a telegram 
through the Home Secretary, which stated that Her 
Majesty felt deeply the readiness with which the suffer- 
ings of the people in India had touched the hearts of 
the people at home. Lord Beaconsfield thought the 
result ' a splendid instance of national sympathy,' and 
added, ' I will express my hope that this generous aid 
may still be extended, because although the action of 
the Indian Government at present is not hampered by 
want of funds, without doubt the assistance administered 
by private hands reaches localities and classes which the 
necessarily more formal help accorded by public authority 
does not and cannot touch/ 

The sympathetic feeling of the English people did 
not need much stimulus, but a great deal of help 
was undoubtedly afforded to the fund by the letters 
which his Grace the Governor of Madras wrote to the 
Lord Mayor from time to time. One of them was as 
follows : — 

Government Houfie, Madras, September 10, 1877. 

My dear Lord Mayor, — ^I venture to express to your Lordship 
the heartfelt gratitude which already b^ns to pervade the minds of 
natives of this Presidency for the exei-tions your Lordahip has made 
and the response which has rewarded your kind interest. 

The emergency is indeed great. KeaJise the position of the 
English people with the quartern loaf ranging from 2«. 6d. upwards, 
and at the same time an utter scarcity of every green thing — of every- 
thing with which food can ordinarily be supplemented — and you may 
form some idea of the scarcity and the terrible position of the classes 
even above the poor labourers and cultivators. To see those classes 
aided and, if possible, saved from falling into the abyss of pauperism 
from which in all countries it is so hard to emerge, is one of the 
principal objects I hope to see attained by the aid of English charity.' 
Government may do much, but, working necessarily imder rule and 
regulation, cannot do much that should be done. Working side by 

> The Times, September 27. 


side with a powerful organisation of private charity, it can do mnch, 
very much more than will be due to the mere amount of money 
expended. I have directed returns of the increasing distress and 
pressure in the various districts to be sent to your Lordship ; the 
mortuary returns sent home officially disclose too plainly the sufferings 
of Southern India. 

Believe me, your Lordship's faithful 

BuGKiNOHAM and Ohandos. 

The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor. 

At a meeting held on October 22 the Lord Mayor 
referred in terms of high appreciation to the efforts 
made on behalf of the fund by the mayors and local 
authorities throughout the kingdom, and said that 
from the Lord Mayor of Dublin he had received no less 
than 22 remittances of 500/. each. He also stated that 
about 800/. had been collected in the Roman Catholic 
churches of the metropolis, and would be paid in within 
the next few days. 

An extract from the minutes of the Mansion House 
Conmiittee of November 5 will show how the fund was 
stopped : — 

' A meeting of the executive committee of the fund now being 
raised at the Mansion House for the relief of the sufferers by the 
&mine in India was held in the Venetian Parlour for the despatch of 

< The fund was reported to amount to 446,100^., of which 405,000^. 
had been remitted to India. 

* While the committee was sitting a telegram from the Duke of 
Buckingham, the Qovemor of Madras, dated that afternoon, was 
received by ttie Lord Mayor. It was in these terms : — 

< Your Lordship's exertions have brought such liberal aid from all 
quarters that, under the -present fevourable prospects, we gratefully 
say the collection may cease. In this the executive relief committee 


' Another telegram, addressed to Mr. Soulsby, the secretary, was 
simultaneously received from Mr. Digby, the secretary of the relief 
committee, stating : — 

' '< With reference to the Governor's telegram, please remember that 


we shall continue active operations with the munificent funds supplied 
to us till January or February." 

* On the motion of Mr. S. P. Low, seconded by Sir Nathaniel de 
Bothschild, M.P., it wa« unanimously resolved to send the following 
telegram in reply to the authorities at Madras : — 

'The Mansion House Committee will make no further appeal. 
They will collect all subscriptions from local committees and other 
sources with the least possible delay. The accounts will be audited 
and the balance remitted. Twenty thousand pounds, making 425,000^., 
is to-day forwarded.' 

It was not easy, however, to stay the flow, and for 
nearly six months after this date the Mansion House 
Committee continued to receive subscriptions and to 
remit them to Madras. 

A strong feeling of cordiality existed between the 
chief collecting and the chief disbursing committees, 
and when the time came for Sir Thomas White, as Lord 
Mayor, to give place to another, the Madras executive 
committee telegraphed to his Lordship in these terms : — 
* On the approaching termination of your tenure of high 
office, we desire to express on behalf of the people of 
Southern India the deep and warm gratitude which is 
felt among all races and creeds for your Lordship's 
active benevolence, and for your great and successful 
exertions in promoting the munificent sympathy of the 
people of Great Britain with the sufferings of the famine- 
stricken populations of India.' The Lord Mayor thus 
replied by telegram : — 'I return you my warmest thanks 
for your telegram just received. It will ever form a 
most pleasing recollection to me that, in my official 
position as Lord Mayor, I was made the medium of 
forwarding to Southern India the generous alms contri- 
buted by all classes of my fellow-countrymen for the 
relief of the famine-stricken people. I take no credit to 
myself for the splendid response made to my appeal, but 
I rejoice that my office here enabled me to originate 


the fund and to take some part in its collection and 
distribution.' ^ 


No part of England responded more eagerlj' to the 
appeal for contributions than did the county of Lanca- 
shire. This was the more pleasing from the fact that 
through its trade there is no portion of the United 
Kingdom brought so much into contact with India as 
the great cotton-manufacturing county. Public meet- 
ings were held in Manchester, Liverpool, and other 
places, and subscription lists opened. A letter from 
the Rev. S. Alfred Steinthal, honorary secretary of 
the Manchester and Salford committee, epitomises the 
action taken in Lancashire. Writing on October 4, 
he said : — 

'I have had the honour, in behalf of our committee, of send- 
ing you various sums : on September 5, 10,000^., on September 19, 
5,000^., on the 26th, 3,000/., and to-day I am happy to lemit 
another 3,000/., making in all 21,000/. I trust before this reaches 
you to have sent still more to relieve the sad suffering of our fellow- 
subjects in India. My chief object in writing to you to-day, in 
addition to confirming my previous telegrams, is to inform you that 
our chief Lancashire towns have agreed that their subscriptions are to 
be all placed under one heading as '* Lancashire Indian Famine Relief 
Fimd." We are all mindful of the generous help given to our factory 
workers during the cotton famine by Mends in India, and are very 
desirous that it should Hot be thought that we were ungrateful for 

^ Que further instance of good feeling may be mentioned : — Prior 1o leav- 
ing the Mansion House, the late Lord Mayor (Sir Thomas White) enter- 
tained there at dinner the members of the committee by whom he had been 
assisted in the collection and distribution of the Indian fiunine fund. The 
banquet was served in the Long Parlour. After dinner ' the health of the 
Madras Committee' was proposed by Sir Thomas White, and a telegram, 
wishing them success in their arduous labours, was despatched to his Grace 
the Governor. Mr. S. P. Low replied for the Mansion House Oonmiittee, 
and Mr. J. Fleming, C.S.I., proposed, in flattering terms, * the health of 
Lord Mayor White,' under whose auspices the fund had been raised, with a 
result so successful* 


that generoofl assistanoe. We bear it oongtantly in mind, and one of 
the few gleams of comfort that we can derive in the midst of this sad 
visitation arises from the fact that it enables us, in some small degree, 
to give expression to the sense of obligation we shall always feel under 
to those generous friends who helped us in our need. 

'Some of our Lancashire subscriptions have already been paid into 
the Mansion House fund, but we shall try and make a complete list 
of Lancashire contributions, and shall feel much pleased if you can by 
some means let our county work be known ; as we feel a special tie 
to Lidia, above what can be felt by other parts of England, with the 
exception of the cotton manufacturing part of Cheshire lying near us. 

' While I am writing, might I be bold enough to ask you to be 
kind enough to send me all possible information as to means which 
men of experience in your Presidency believe may be adopted to avert 
such calamities in the future 1 Our committee have resolved as soon 
as the pressure of work arising from the appeal for money is over to 
try and arouse such public feeling as shall help the Crovemment in 
carrying preventive measures, even at the cost of public money, and 
all advice which comes to us from men residing in India must be of 
great service to us.' 

The money contributed — nearly £100,000 — was 
only a small part of the sympathy shown by Lancashire. 
Through public meetings and in other ways pressure 
was brought to bear upon the English Government to 
devise remedial means to prevent future famines. 

Two Lancashire towns — Bolton and Blackburn — 
preferred to keep their contributions distinct, and did 
so. The sums sent by them respectively were £5,150, 
and £3,500. 

At one of the weekly meetings of the Manchester 
Committee of the Indian Famine Relief Fund the Bishop 
of Manchester laid before the committee the following 
letter, which is worthy of permanent record, as showing 
the spirit in which the fund was contributed : — 

Manchesteri September 11. 

My Lord, — I have been requested by a deputation from the work- 
people employed by Messrs. S. Schwabe and Co. at Khodes, near Mid- 
dleton, to bring the following under your Lordship's notice : — A desire 



having been expressed by many of the hands employed at the above 
works to contribute to the above fond, some of their fellow-workmen 
convened a meeting of the whole body. At this meeting, of which 
Mr. C. B. West was chairman, it was resolved unanimously that 
every man, woman, and child employed at the Bhodes Printing Works 
should contribute one-fifbh at least of a week's wages. In order that 
the payment of the contribution should not press too heavily on any 
contributor, it was arranged that the collection should be made fort- 
nightly during a period of eight weeks, or, say 5 per cent, at a time. 
Mr. West and the cashier at the works having entered in a book the 
names of the whole of the people employed at the above works, with 
the amounts due weekly to each placed opposite, the workpeople 
were invited to sign the book as proof of their willingness to contribute 
the percentage of their wages agreed upon. This was done in nearly 
all cases with the greatest alacrity and cheerfulness, some giving more, 
and few less fortunately situated a little less than the stipulated 20 
per cent. The fii'st collection, which will be the largest, as it includes 
extra amounts, summed up to 44/., and a cheque for that amount has 
been placed in my hands. The total of the subscriptions wiU, it is 
expected, reach 1 10/. or 120/. Kow, were similar steps to be taken at 
all our mills and manufactories with like results, what a noble con- 
tribution Lancashire would make to the fund for the relief of the 
famishing Indians. The gentlemen who have waited upon me 
believe that it is in your Lordship's i)Ower to bring about such a strik- 
ing proof of the sympathy felt by the workpeople of Lancashire for 
their suffering fellow-subjects in India. Were you to use your in- 
fluence with the workpeople at even only a few of the many mills, 
railway dep6ts, i&c., these gentlemen believe that the movement would 
spread rapidly and a grand result would accrue. 

Yours, &c., 

J. G. Makdley. 

In closing accounts and forwarding the balance, Mr. 
Watson, secretary to the Blackburn committee, wrote : — 

At the last meeting of our committee it was decided that the 
Madras committee should be asked to express their opinion in an 
elaborate minute as to the best means of preventing the recurrence of 
famine in the districts over which they have so laboriously distri- 
buted the relief funds. 

It is the opinion of this committee that the experience acquired in 
the various districts over which your committee have distributed re- 
lief; the knowledge they have gained of the cause of famine^ and their 


opinion ae to the best meanfl of preventing the recurrence of a similar 
calamity, will be of the highest importance to ns. 

Any assistance that we can render by the difusion of sound 
opinion and information on the subject will be most willingly and 
walously given. 

This is the duty of the Famine Commission appointed 
by the Government of India, rather than of the Madras 
committee, whose task was one of relief and not of 

Bradford also had communications direct with the 
Madras committee, and contributed £8,500. 


Scotland, proportionately to her population, has, 
perhaps, sent more sons to India than any other part 
of the United Kingdom, and her interest in all that 
concerns the Empire is proportionately great. Edinburgh 
worthily took the lead in Scotland in raising contribu- 
tions, and the famine relief fund there was appro- 
priately inaugurated at a meeting over which the liord 
Provost presided, and at which such representative 
' Indians ' as Lord Napier and Ettrick, once Governor 
of Madras, and George Smith, Esq., C.I.E., LL.D., 
late editor of the Friend of India^ took part. Dr. Smith 
was made co-secretary with two other gentlemen, and 
for a time the attention of the dwellers in the Modern 
Athens was concentrated upon India and her woes, 
Lord Napier and Ettrick serving to maintain the interest 
by giving a lecture on Indian Famines to the working 
men of Edinburgh. A pricis of the report issued by 
the Edinburgh committee, at the close of their opera- 
tions, will serve to show the scope of their operations : — 

This fund was opened, on a telegram from his 
Excellency the Governor of Madras to the Lord 
Provost of Edinburgh, received on August 15, 1877, 
appealing for public sympathy and help. 

"' 803679 A 


The action of the Lord Provost and Town Council 
of Edinburgh, in response to the appeal, was approved 
of by a most influential meeting of the citizens and 
representatives of the adjoining counties, held on 
September 3, 1877. In a letter from the late Viceroy 
and Governor General of India, the Earl of Northbrook, 
who was passing through the city, the nature of the 
distress was urged as especially suitable for private 
benevolence, and the opinion was expressed that * Edin- 
burgh would not be behindhand in the good work, 
while it would be warmly supported by the whole of 
Scotland, where there are so many and so honourable 
associations with the Indian Empire.' A large com- 
mittee under the presidency of the Lord Provost was 
then nominated to raise subscriptions on a general scale. 
This acting committee was formed with the distin- 
guished ex-Governor of Madras, the Right Honourable 
Lord Napier and Ettrick, K.T., as vice-chairman. 
This committee met five days a week all through 
September and October, and thereafter weekly, till the 
close of the year. The City Chamberlain from the first 
freely and zealously gave the movement the benefit of 
his experience and energy as honorary treasurer. 

' Spontaneous subBcriptions of comparatively large sums began to 
flow in as the result of the publicity given to the Madras appeal all 
throughout the country. The honorary treasurer, however, lost no 
time in addressing (1) special circulars to some 3,000 citizens and 
residents in the country, which in most instances met with a prompt 
and liberal response. This was followed (2) by a somewhat similar 
representation sent to no fewer than 24,000 addresses in the local 
Directory ; (3) the banks and insurance offices, other public offices, and 
some shops, received subscriptions. The acting committee desire to 
express their gratitude to these agencies for their hearty co-operation, 
and especially to the Banks, both in the city and countiy, for the ar- 
rangement made for cashing drafts free of cost, and to the Bank of 
Scotland for their remittance of sums to Madras also free of all the 
usual ohai'ges. (4) Considerable sums were paid into the office of the 


honorary treasurer, at the City chambers (5) A special move- 
ment was organised among the working and trading classes, chiefly 
through the Edinburgh United Trades Council, with whom Mr. 
Harrison and other members of the committee held conferences ; and 
also directly in several large establishments. In order to promote this 
most desirable end Lord Napier and Ettrick delivered a lecture on 
India, which attracted a crowded audience to the Free Assembly Hall 
towards the close of September, and was warmly appreciated. The 
report of the lecture had a powerful influence in promoting the general 
subscriptions. His Lordship more recently delivered a second lecture 
in the literary Institute, on the prevention of fjEtmine. Though living 
at a considerable distance from town. Lord Napier and Ettrick con- 
tinued to preside at the principal meetings every week. Mr. Duncan 
McLaren, M.P., attended nearly all the meetings and guided the move- 
ment throughout by his great experience and zeal. (6) Individual 
members of the committee promoted the subscription in the neigh- 
bouring towns. On October 22 a circular was addressed to all the 
boroughs and municipal bodies in Scotland who had not up to that 
time taken part in the national subscription, communicating to them 
the proceedings of the Madras central committee, and oflering to re- 
mit any amounts raised free of expense. (7) Finally, on the return 
to town of many families at the close of the autumn holidays, collec- 
tions were made by church congregations and in schools. These 
formed most important, and, at that stage, most valuable feeders to the 
general stream of benevolence. 

* The result of these and other agencies, such as lectures, has been 
the subscription of 23,216/., chiefly in the two and a half months end- 
ing November 18, when the assured fall of the north-east monsoon in 
aU districts save Ganjam and Yizagapatam largely removed the fear 
of the continuance of famine beyond the next harvest of February 
1878. This sum is, with one exception, the largest raised by Edin- 
biu^h for any public purpose. To the Patriotic fund after the 
Crimean war this city was the means of adding 16,000/. For the re- 
lief of distress in Lancashire, to which, it should not be forgotten, the 
people of India liberally subscribed, Edinburgh raised 35,0002. The 
Edinburgh Famine fund of 1877 is also proportionately larger than 
that contributed by any other city of the Empire, so far as present 
statistics show. The Mansion House fund has exceeded the un- 
paralleled amount of half-armillion sterling, a fact which has called 
forth the congratulations of the Queen on the " magniflcent result." 
This sum has been drawn from all the provinces of the Empire, 
including the Colonies and some parts of Scotland. Dublin contri- 
buted 13,000/., which it sent to London. Glasgow raised 22,390/., of 


which it forwarded 4,310^. to Bombay and 17,632/. toMadras. Manches^ 
ter and Salford, Liverpool, Blackburn, Bradford, Bolton, Oldham, and 
Greenock, also remitted to India direct. But no one can assert that 
either Edinburgh or the whole Empire — which, including India itself, 
may be said to have given 650,000Z., or, what is equivalent in Indian 
currency and in purchasing power to above three-quarters of a million 
sterling — has done more than its duty. The whole sum acknowledged 
in Madras up to December 15 last from India itself as well as 
the rest of the British Empire, is 7,908,714 rs., or nearly 800,000/. 
at the par of two shillings the rupee. 

'The valuable analysis of the Edinburgh fund by the honorary 
treasurer reveals some interesting details. The number of separate 
donations to the Mansion House fund is stated at over 1 6,000 ; from 
the comparatively small area of Edinburgh, and those parts of Scot- 
land which remitted through it, there have been 3,608 personal sub- 
scriptions, yielding 12,057/., or rather more than half the whole. 
Church collections came next ; 428 congregations gave 7,400/., or a 
third of the whole, if the allied sums from 89 schools and 9 lectures 
be added. These two dassee make 19,823/. of the total 23,215/. The 
balance is made up by 250/. from the working classes in 86 establish- 
ments, 293/. frx)m 14 corporations and societies, and 2,848/. from 14 
county or town districts. 

* Of the total number of 4,265 subscriptions, there were 2,984 from 
the city of Edinburgh, yielding 1 1,337/. This is at the rate of 3/. 15«. 
each. Almost the same rate prevailed in Leith, where 283 subscribed 
1,035/. The landward subscriptions of the county of Mid-Lothian 
numbered 167, and amounted to 1,200/. Towns beyond Mid-Lothian 
sent 5,368/. in 342 contributions, and counties other than Mid- 
Lothian 3,377/. in 330 contributions. From counties beyond there were 
21 subscriptions amounting to 100/. The highest subscription was 
anonymous, 500/. from ** M. S. S. D." Perhaps the most significant is 
that of 5/., the spontaneous offering of the boys of the Wellington Re- 
formatory. A few givers sent monthly subscriptions to the frind as 
long as the pressure lasted, an example followed in India in times of 
fitmine, and worthy of general adoption. In addition to the church 
collections above stated, the United Presbyterian Church raised 
2,630/. as a special fund for sufferers in Hajpootana, and the Free 
Church 802/. for orphans in Bombay and Hyderabad. 

' After careful considei'ation of the claims of Bombay, of Hajpoo- 
tana, and of a mission in Hyderabad, the acting committee resolved 
to send aU remittances in the first instance to the central committee 
in Madras. That body is in the heart of the greatest suffering; it 
represents all classes and creeds ; it established a careful system of 


distribtition and control, and it has done its work well. At the same 
tinie, seeing so many of the subscribers to the Edinburgh fund were 
interested in other places than South India, the acting committee 
recommended the Madras Agency to give careful and generous 
consideration to applications fi'om the places named. The committee 
do not know if an appeal was made to Madras from Bajpootana, but 
the Madras grants to Bombay, Mysore, and elsewhere, seem to have 
been satis&ctoiy. In this as in all previous famines it has been 
proved that the best, and in many cases the only agents of the bounty 
of this countiy, and of Qovemment itself, are the missionaries, both 
Protestant and Boman Catholic, next to the overburdened district 
officers. The calamity in South India has told heavily on the millions 
of Christians there, as shown by the official proceedings sent to the 
Edinburgh committee every week. The sum of 20,000^. was aeat to 
his Excellency the Crovemor of Madras in six remittances, of which 
the last reached on December 3. This yielded no less than 
225,412 rs., owing to the gain by exchange at from la. 9^. to la, 8|(f. 
per rupee. When the net amount of 22,300^. or thereby haa reached 
India, it will be found that this is really equal to about 25,000^. or 
more, according to the purchasing power of the rupee on the spot. 

' The total cost of collecting this amount has been 925/. The 
bulk of this, 855/., is due to advertising (630/.) and circulars and 
postage (225/1), without which the money could not have been raised. 
The money allowed by the committee for the services of clerks is 
60/. The amount of the City Chamberlain's intromissions as 
honorary treasurer of the frind is herewith submitted as brought 
down to the 12th instant, and docqueted by Mr. Thomas Dall, C.A., 
as honorary auditor. The City Chamberlain has considered it a 
privily to organise and direct the movement under the acting 
committee, a privilege which the three honorary secretaries — Messrs. 
Skinner and G. Harrison, and Dr. George Smith, CLE. — have been 
delighted to share. 

' So £Eur as the official reports of the Crovemment of India show, 
the following sums have been raised for the relief of the people in 
recent famines : — 








Upper India 
r Onssa, Behar, 
•land North 

J Rajpootana and I 
I Central India f 

Bahar .... 

{S. India and \ 
Bombay . . ./ 




U. P. Oh. 



Cost to 



a few 

For nine 
months in 
only, will be 
double this 
at least. 



very little 




but not re- 


but little 

Not yet es- 
timated, but 
three times 
that in 1861 
at least. 

* In the twelve months ending November 1877, 900,000 tons of 

grain were imported into the ports of the province of Madras, to feed 

the people, or 5,600,000 lbs. a day. This seems to be over and above 

the large import inland by railways from the north. With this an 

average number of three millions of peasantry, labourers, small artisans, 

and the respectable and high-caste poor were fed daily by Government, 

while food was supplied, in addition to the stocks of the country, to 

all who could pay for it. In the interior there were villages where 

food was not available at any price, while it was brought up as fast as 

the railway could carry it to the dying, at rates whidi seem to have 

risen above four hundred per cent. In Mysore and Bellary the horrors 

of &mine seem to have reached their height. The records of the police 

tell of cannibalism and mortality over which humanity draws a veil. 

But it is pleasing now to read this extract from a letter received by 

Dr. Smith, from the centre of Bellary, where the suffering was most 

terrible. The date is December 22 last : — ''After this wonderfully 

favourable weather, we have heard the district is looking perfectly 

beautiful. Agriculture and crops are most favourable, grass for cattle 

is abundant, and there is any quantity of water in the tanks — 10 or 1 2 

months' supply without requiring almost another shower." 

* In resigning their trust the committee do not feel that it is their 
province to urge the adoption of any one panacea, such as irrigation, 
or railway. They are satisfied that, in the last ten years at least. 

' Over 820,000?. were received before the fund was finally dosed. 


sinoe Lord Lawrence's great scheme came into force, as large a sum 
has been devoted to such public works as the revenues of India can 
bear, but they are not prepared to say that the money has always been 
spent in the wisest way. They believe that much more could be done 
for the mitigation of famine than at present, by such an administration 
of the land tax as would leave the peasant less in the hands of the 
money-lender, and might develop habits of thrift and comfort. It is 
in the people themselves eus much as in the Qovemment, that in India, 
as in other lands, power to withstand famine must be sought. The 
committee observe with satisfaction that the present Qovemment of 
India has departed from its early policy so far as to resolve that not 
less than one million-and-a-half sterling shall be provided by every 
Budget eus a reserve for famine relief. But whether India, as it is, can 
bear the strain of this as well as of adequate public works ; whether 
canals cannot yet be made to pay as well as railways, and if so, how 
far they will protect vast populations who have no permanent source 
of water supply ; and whether the land tax and land tenures cannot 
be dealt with in the spirit of Colonel Baird Smith's report and Lord 
Canning's orders after the famine of 1861 — these and other such 
questions are for the solution of a ParUamentaiy or Boyal Commission. 
In conclusion, the committee rejoice in the abundant evidence sup- 
plied by official assurances of the Viceroy and the Madras and Bombay 
authorities, by the detailed reports of the Madras relief committees, 
and by the vernacular and English press, that the aid sent from this 
country has not only largely saved human life, mitigated human 
suffering, and enabled the surviving peasantry to stock and sow now 
their little holdings, but has bound more closely the political ties 
between the people of Great Britain and their fellow-subjects in the 
East. There still remains the great question of the support and train- 
ing of thousands of orphans to be dealt with. But, believing that the 
Christian benevolence of this country will more effectually act on the 
movement through other channels, the committee do not recommend 
the prolonged continuance of the Edinburgh fund for relief of the 
famine of 1877.' 

Glasgow and Greenock both opened separate funds ; 
from the former city £17,622 were received, and from 
the latter £1,840. 


In Australasia the movement for relief was taken up 
with great heartiness, and as soon as efforts were com- 


menced a telegram was sent to the Madras committee, 
asking whether aid would be preferred in grain or 
money. The latter was considered the more preferable 
mode, and the Australasian committees were so advised. 
Public meetings were held in the chief cities and country 
towns ; most sympathetic and eloquent speeches were 
made. Particularly was this the case in Sydney, where 
the Roman Catholic Archbishop caused a great sensation 
by his generous oratory. The amounts raised in the 
various colonies were as follows : — 

Victoria £28,600 

New Soulih VTales 18,000 

New Zealand 13,000 

South Australia 11,450 

TaEEmania 3,900 

Queensland 3,000 

Making a grand total oontiibuted hj Australia 

and New Zealand of £77,950 

The population and contribution per head of the 
people in each province are given in the annexed table : — 

Estimated r« *, 'u ,.• 

J^^l. 1878. ^' ^"^ 

South Australia .... 237,536 11^. 

106,000 S^d. 

New Zealand 
New South Wales 

861,500 7id. 

417,532 7 id. 

665,000 ^d. 

203,095 3|d. 

Total 2,479,880 making 7^. 

the average contribution per head in all the colonies. 

At the antipodes of Great Britain, as in Great Britain, 
most earnest and self-denying efforts were made to 
render assistance. A description of what was done in 
South Australia will serve as an indication of the activity 
and zeal displayed. On Wednesday, September 19, 
1878, a meeting convened by the mayor of Adelaide 
(Mr. Caleb Peacock) was held in the city, and a com- 


mittee formed to organise a scheme for sending speedy 
relief to the famine-stricken districts in India. This 
committee, together with a few other gentlemen whose 
names were added subsequently, had the general over- 
sight of the movement, but the practical organisa- 
tion and working out of the scheme was entrusted to 
an executive sub-committee. The final report issued 
says : — * After careful deliberation the sub*committee 
considered it undesirable and unnecessary to make — 
as they were strongly urged to do — a house-to-house 
canvass in Adelaide and the suburbs for subscriptions. 
Active measures, however, were taken to disseminate 
information respecting the famine and its sad results, 
and to distribute subscription-lists and books for the 
collection of contributions. The sub-committee re- 
ceived great assistance in their labours from the pro- 
prietors of the Register newspaper, who printed free of 
cost 50,000 copies of an article on the famine compiled 
from authentic sources ; also from Messra Scrjnngour 
and Sons, who gratuitously printed a large number of 
lithographed letters, with which they communicated 
with persons in the city, suburbs, and country districts. 
Aid was also afforded by Mr. Dobson (of the Temple 
of Light), who presented to the committee a number of 
copies of photographs received from the mayor of Mel- 
bourne, portraying the sad effects of the fiamine. To 
all these gentlemen, and to many others whose zealous 
co-operation involved the expenditure of much time and 
attention, the committee on behalf of the public generally 
desire to record their most sincere thanks. 

* Lists were distributed to all parts of the country 
as follows : — To local committees, 103 ; corporations, 
67 ; district councils, 380 ; post offices, 69 ; public- 
houses, 570 ; sheep-stations, 222 ; police-stations, 85 ; 
public institutions, 56; private institutions, 173; banks, 
81 ; local courts, 6 ; churches and chapels, 76 ; societies, 


20—1,908. A total number of 1,908 lists and 68 books 
were Issued in this way. 

* The interest which was taken in the movement by 
the public generally in South Australia was manifested 
by the ready response which was made to the appeal — 
a response which enabled the committee to remit within 
a fortnight a first instalment of 3,000/. This credit 
was sent by telegram, so that it was immediately avail- 
able in India. Within six weeks a further remittance 
of 5,000/. was in like manner sent to Madras, and 
on December 4 an additional 3,000/. was forwarded. 
The total amount raised has been 11,450/.: deduct 
amount already remitted, 10,000/.; expenses incurred, 
260/. — 10,260/.; leaving amount in hand to be remitted 
about 1,190/. Reckoning bank interest on the current 
account and the exchange on drafts, the sum of ll,450/« 
subscribed here will be equivalent in India to an amount 
exceeding 12,000/.' 

To Victoria belongs the honour of having contri- 
buted the largest donation to the fund of any individual 
contributing. Mr. W. J. Clarke, a wealthy squatter, 
gave 2,000/. 

From Canada, Jamaica, and other West India Islands, 
Natal, British Guiana, Mauritius, Hong Kong, the Straits 
Settlements, Gibraltar — in fact, without exception horn 
every part of the British dominions, contributions were 
sent. The solidarity of the British Empire was exem- 
plified in a most pleasing manner by the sympathy and 
aid which the relief fund called forth. India was the 
centre of attraction in every part of the world, and a 
stronger bond than administrative acts could weave 
cemented all parts of the Queen's dominions as they had 
never been cemented before.^ 

^ The Norfolk Islaaders, descended from the mutineen of the 'Boimtj/ 
who settled first at Pitcaini, and were then moTed to Norfolk Island, 
contributed 51/. to the Madras famine relief fund. Dr. Selwyn, the 



In India the sum raised was, comparatively, not 
large, but the explanation is to be found in the fact that 
distress was general everywhere save in Bengal, and that 
the high prices of food and other articles made large 
donations impracticable. The following details should 
be of interest : — 

ContrUmtions from Indian Princes. 

H.H. the Maharaja of Baroda 

H.H. the Maharaja of Travancore . 

H.H. the Maharaja of Cochin .... 

H.H. the Kaja of Venkatagiri 

H.H. the Maharaja Holkar .... 

H.H. the Maharaja of Mourbhuij . 

H.H. the Maharanee of Shoma Moye of Gos8imbazar 

H.H. the Begum of Bhopal .... 

H.H. the Maharaja of Vizianagram 

H.H. the Maharaja of Pumea .... 

H.H. the Maharanee of Earjat Koer Ticari 

H.H. the Raja of Poodoocottah 














<t, p. 

Regimental Contributions, 

2nd Regt. M.S. Cav. 
officers and men . 
2nd Regt. M,N.I. . 
2nd R^. Ghoorkaa 
3rd Regt. Sikh . . 
4th Regt. B.I. . . 
4th Regt. M.I. . . 
4th Regt. P.C.H.C. . 
4th Cav. H.C. . . 
5th Regt. Ghoorkas . 

Rs, a, p, 

132 11 


93 8 

153 11 6 

257 6 

282 13 


236 4 


8th Regt. N.I. . .127 
9th Regt. N.I. . .142 
10th Regt. M.N.L . 95 
16th Regt. M.N.I. . 142 
20th Regt. N.I. . .149 
25th Regt. N.I. . . 256 
26th Regt. N.I. . .136 
28th Regt. N.I. . .196 
40th Regt. ... 110 
89th Regt. H.M. . 375 

a. p. 







Bishop of Melanesia, states in a letter to the Bishop of Madras, that the whole 
community does not numher 400 souls. ' They are by no means well off, 
and derive their money chiefly from whaling, which is carried on for about 
six months of the year, and from the sale of their produce to chance whalers, 
and also by the sale of cattle to New Caledonia. But the story of the &mine 
has touched their hearts deeply ; and' as they took advantage of the day of 
intercession to use it also as a day of thanksgiving for their safety during the 
whaling season, their offertory may be considered as in part a thank- 





The Right Honourable Sir Thomas White, Lord Major (chairman). 

The Right Honourable the Earl of Northbrook, 4, Hamilton Place, 

Piccadilly, W. 

Sir N. M. de Rothschild, M.P., New 

Court, St. Swithin's Lane, E.O. 
Lieut-General Sir Henry Norman, 

16, Westboume Sq., W. 
K. D. Hodgson, Esq. M.P., 8, 

Bishopsgate St. Within, E.O. 
E. 0. Baring, Esq., 8, Bishopsgate 

St. Within, E.G. 
& G. H Mills, M.P., Lombard St, 

H. M. Matheson, Esq., S, Lombard 

St, E.O. 
Baron de Stem, 6, Angel Gourt, E.G. 
L. Huth, Esq., 12, Tokenhouse Yard, 

0. Arbuthnot, £^., 83, Great St 

Helen's, KG. 
J. S. Morgan, Esq., 22, Old Broad 

St, E.G. 
J. Fleming, Esq., G.S.I., 18, Leaden- 
hall St, E.G. 
S. Morley, Esq., M.P., Tonbridge 
Alderman Sir W. A. Rose, 66, 

Upper Thames St, E.G. 
Alderman Sir Robert Garden, 2, 

Royal Exchange Buildings, E.G. 
W. R. Arbuthnot, Esq., Great St 

Helen's, E.G. 
Mr. Alderman Hadley, Gity Flour 

Mills, E.G. 
Mr. Alderman Sidney, Bowes Manor, 

Southgate, N. 

F. W. Buxton, Esq., 62, Thread- 
needle St, E.G. 

Hon. H L. Bourke, 18, Fbch Lane 

Henry Bayley, Esq., P. and O. 
Company, Leadenhall St., E.G. 

S. P. Low, Baq., Parliament St, S. W. 

W. Scott, Esq., 6, East India 

M. Girod, 144, Leadenhall St, E.G. 

R H. Hardcastle, Esq., 144 Leaden- 
hall St, KG. 

J. Sands, Esq., 60, Old Broad St, 

J. Pender, Esq., M.P., Eastein Tele- 
graph Company, Old Broad St, 

Charles Teede, Esq., College Hill, 

P. Macfadyen, Esq., Great St 
Helen's, E.G. 

G. Parbury, Esq., 87, Newgate St., 

Thomas Gray, Esq., 84, Fenchurch 
St, KG. 

J. H. Grossman, Esq., RoUb Park, 

T. J. Reeves, Esq., 11, King's Arms 
Yard, E.G. 

G. B. Bowden, Esq., 19, Cullum St, 

A. T. Hewitt, Esq., 82, Nicholas 
Lane, E.G. 

G. Arbuthnot, Esq., 40, Thread- 
needle St, E.G. 

G. Smith, Esq., 14, Bride Lane, KG. 

J. N. Bullen, Esq., 65, Old Broad 
St, KG. 

F. W. Heilgers, Esq., Chartered 
Bank of India, Australia, and 
China, Hatton Chambers, E.G. 

W. Mackinnon, Esq., British Steam 
Navigation Co., E.G. 

H. S. King, Esq., 66, Gomhill, KG. 


Principal Stihscriptions received in Landan,^ ^ 

Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen-Empress . . 500 

His Eoyal Highness the Piince of Wales . . . 525 

Her Boyal Highness the Princess of Wales . . . 105 

His Boyal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh . . 100 

Her Boyal and Imperial Highness Duchess of Edinbui^h 50 

His Boyal Highness Prince Leopold . . . . 50 

His Boyal Highness the Duke of Cambridge . . 50 

Her Boyal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge . . 100 

The Crown Prince and Princess of Germany . . 100 

The Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse . . . 50 

The Grand Duke and Duchess of Mecklenburg Strelitz . 30 

His Grace the Duke of Bedford 500 

„ „ ,, ,, „ Northumberland • • • 500 

„ „ „ „ „ Devonshire .... 500 

The Duchess Dowager of Cleveland .... 500 

The Most Noble the Marquis of Salisbury . , . 500 

The Earl of Northbrook 500 

Lord Leconfield 500 

The Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery . . . 500 

The United Grand Lodge of Masons .... 1,050 

The Governor and Company of the Bank of England . 1,000 

Messrs- N. M. de Bothschild and Sons . . . 1,000 

Messrs. Baring Bros, and Company .... 1,000 

Messrs. Coutts and Company 1,000 

The Corporation of London 1,000 

The Grocers' Company 1,000 

The Mercers' Company ...... 1,000 

The Clothworkers' Company 525 

The Merchant Taylors' Company .... 525 

The Fishmongers' Company 525 

The Goldsmiths' Company 500 

The Oriental Bank Corporation 500 

The Widow of the late George Ashbourne, of Calcutta . 500 

Messrs. J. S. Morgan & Co 500 

Messrs. Arbuthnot, Latham, & Co 500 

Messrs. Stem Brothers 500 

Messrs. Glyn, Mills, Currie, & Co 500 

The Commercial Sale Booms 1,698 16 

The Baltic 1,899 

Members of the Stock Exchange 1,525 10 

Lloyds 2,300 2 6 


This list is prepared chiefly to show the large sums giyenby individuals, 




r, dso. 








Aberdeen . 








Aldershot . 












Beverley . 



AHton upon Mersey 








Atherstone . 



















A rbroath • • 

109 16 

81 3 

460 12 



Colchester . 

. 1,561 



A ViAinlArA 

64 13 










A ./V^ 



Cambridge (Towi 

i) 969 





^% f\ ^\ 

Oambridge, (Uni 

Bridport . 




versity) . 








9 / 
Coventry . 








Cork . 

. 1,143 



Bath . 





. 1,500 




. 1,021 

Brighton . 















Carnarvon . 


Banbury . 




Congleton . 




Couper Angus 








Chichester . 







Cirencester . 



















Beaumaris . 










Chatham . 











Barton on Humber 




Chipping Nortor 

L 50 








Brockley Road . 




Beverley Minster 





. 13,000 


Brighouse . 





. 4,148 



Barrow inFumess 




Doncaster . 




Burton on Trent . 

214 11 


. 1,912 







Devonport . 







Dewsbury . 


n.nd the nmoimts ooi 


1 th 


b the Mansion Hoi 

ase by towns 


Great Britain, by collectionfl in places of worehip, and from the Colonies. 
The broad base of the magnificent contribution of £820,000 may be esti- 
mated from the particulars here recorded. 













Dorchester . 






































GilUngham . 


Deal . 




Guernsey . 






Daventry . 





Darlaston . 






Dunstable . 





. 3,750 


s 52 

Heywood . 

. 1,144 



Dumfries . 





. 1,000 

Dartmouth . 


Harrogate . 


Hereford . 





. 2,560 









Holmfirth . 




Exmouth . 



Hertford . 




East Eetford 




Homcastle . 




Eye . 






EastLooe . 




Hallaton . 




Hove . 




Faveraham . 




Hendford . 




Falmouth . 









173 18 




Fenton Urban Sa 





nitary Distnci 

; 280 

Haverfordwest . 




Fariugdon . 







Folkestone . 













Famham . 










Isle of Man 



Grantham . 



Ivy Bridge . 


Gloucester . 



InvemesR . 




Great Yarmouth . 





Guildford . 








Great Driffield . 



Gi-avesend . 




Keighley . 















dsc, — continued. 








. 414 



Middlflsborough . 



. 330 



Monmouth . 





. 351 



Market Drayton . 


King's Lynn 

. 290 



Market Weighton 



. 187 





Mafierton - with - 

Thames . 

. 242 






. 133 


















Kington, Hereford 63 







Newcastle - upon - 


. 7,243 13 






. 3,427 



Newport, Isle of 





Wight . 








Newcastle- under- 









Newport, Mon. . 




Lichfield . 




Newcastle, Staf- 

Lymington . 




fordshire . 






New Malton, 

















Leek . 














Lyme B^gis 


Newton Abbot . 




Newbury . 



Luton TToo . 




Lynn . 




Oswestry . 







Littleport . 



Ottery St. Mary . 




Maidstone . 

. 1,071 


Perth . 










Plymouth . 












Mansfield, Notts . 

290 14 

Pontefract . 




Morpeth . 




Penzance . 


Montrose . 


















£ 8. 


£ 8. 



. 4,655 15 

Sutton Coldfield 

267 10 

Peterflfield . 

89 16 


. 1,382 6 



. 1,000 


. 1,668 9 



578 2 



584 5 




Bochdale . 

. 2,000 

Salisbury . 

1,040 5 


Bothesay and 

St. Austell . 

211 2 



475 10 

South Shields . 

124 15 

Rochester . 

319 18 



150 9 


Eomford . 

356 11 


Seaham Harbour 



550 7 


St. Helens . 

738 8 



737 14 




159 15 


Craven . 

449 3 


Bedditch . 



358 15 





165 18 



252 15 






Bichmond (York, 

) 318 4 



667 10 

Botherham . 

. 1,039 8 



877 19 


Bhyl . 

164 10 




Boss . 

82 2 


Torrington . 

59 14 


Tamworth . 

341 11 


Sheffield . 




414 7 


Stockport . 

1,847 4 



Stamford . 


Tavistock . 

252 7 


Sidmouth . 

245 19 



112 9 

Southport . 

1,532 6 


Tenby . 

305 5 



818 12 

Tumham Green . 

120 15 


Sandwich . 

128 16 



56 11 


Stoke-on-Trent . 

610 19 



300 4 



541 14 


Tenterden . 

57 8 


Stourport . 

106 14 


Towcester . 

70 18 



1,791 5 


Stonehouse (De- 


51 15 




Saffron Walden . 

404 10 


Winchester . 

782 1 

St. Stephen's 

228 10 


. 1,575 

St. Margaret's . 

68 10 

West Bromwich . 

703 7 



67 12 



4,553 15 


South Molton 

120 15 



172 1 

I 2 




Wakefield . . 1 



Wells . 

West Hartlepool 

Wuerdle andWardle, 

Wesit Abbey 

TownSy <tc. — continued. 

£ 8, d, 

,034 4 1 


748 14 5 

467 2 7 

183 18 8 

603 9 8 

196 2 
140 7 

Wycombe . 
Wraxall . 
Weymouth . 
Wrexham . 

York . 

£ 8. d. 

78 18 3 
164 4 6 
132 17 6 
799 10 4 
394 9 11 
273 5 5 
286 4 11 

2,506 10 6 


Auckland, Kew Zealand .... 

British Guiana 

Coquimboo ...... 

Freemantle (Western Australia) . 

Hong Kong 

Hobart Town 

Invercargill . . . . . 

Jamaica ....... 

New Plymouth, New Zealand . 

New South Wales . . . . . 

Otago, New Zealand ..... 

Pietermaritzburgh ..... 

Wanganui, New Zealand .... 

Wellington, New Zealand .... 

Per Sir J. Vogel, Agent-General for New 

Zealand ...... 

Collected at the British Yice-Oonsulate at 


Churche8y dsc, 

Westminster Abbey . 

St. Paul's Cathedral . 

Holy Trinity, Paddington 

St. Paul's, Paddington 

St. John's, Paddington 

St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington 

St. Mary Magdalene, St. Leonards 

Holy Trinity, Tunbridge Wells . 










' 17,740 







9 6 

11 8 

16 2 

8 4 


10 4 

3 7 

6 1 

2 6 

3 4 

147 9 
461 2 
424 15 
402 10 
333 5 
246 2 
239 18 




ChurcheSy ike, — continued. 

St. Jude's, South Kensington 

St. Stephen's, Westboume Park 

Chiist Church, Highbury . 

St. Paul's, Onslow Square . 

Camden Church, Camberwell 

Matson Church, Gloucester 

St. Mark and St. Andrew's, Surbiton 

St. Augustine, Highbury New Park 

St. James', Kidbrook . 

St. Paul's, Beckenham 

Quebec Chapel . 

St. Stephen's, Canonbury 

Christ Church, Streatham 

Beddington Church . 

St. Bartholomew, Sydenham 

St. Michael's, Blackheath Park . 

St. Mary's, Balham . 

St. Luke's, West Holloway 

St. James' Parish Church, Dover 

St. Jude's, Mildmay Park . 

Otley Parish Church . 

Monken Hadley Church 

Parish Church, Holy Trinity, with St 

Saviour's Chapel of Ease 
St. John the Evangelist, Penge . 
St. John's, Blackheath 
Christ Church, Lee 
Mortlake Church, with Christ Church, East 

Sheen .... 

Christ Church, Tunbridge Wells 
Christ Church, Folkestone . 
St. Stephen's, South Dulwich 
Ackworth Church 
Bath Abbey .... 
St. Peter's, Bayswater 
St. John the Baptist Church, Hove 
St. Mark's, Lewisham 
St. Mark's, Hamilton Terrace, N.W. 
St. Michael's, Highgate 
Christ Church, North Brixton . 
St. George's, Bloomsbury . 









































































































Churches, dec, — continued. 

Temporary and Parish Church, Cheltenham 

Trinity Church, Weston-super-Mare . 

Parish Church, Weston-super-Mare . 

Christ Church, Crouch End, Homsey . 

St. George's, Bickley . 

Foundling Hospital Chapel 

St. Margaret's, Lee 

Church Eaton Church 

St. Mark's, Tunbridge Wells 

St. Matthew, Croydon 

Beverley Church 

Earley Church, Heading 

Holy Trinity, Kilbum 

Christ Church, Surbiton 

Trinity Church, EastboumQ 

Parish Church of Holy Trinity, 

Christ Church, Worthing . 

St. James', Holloway . ' . 

Eton College Chapel . 

Satterthwaite Cliurch . 

St. Mary's, Chelmsford 

Christ Church, Malvern 

St. George's Chapel, Kemp Town 

St. James', Westmoreland Street, Marylebone 

St. Peter's, Belsize Park 

Rugby School Chapel . 

Christ Church, Gipsy Hill . 

Christ Church, Chislehurst . 

St. Michael's, Paddington . 

Weybridge Parish Chm-ch . 

St. Mary's, Christchurch, and St. John the 

Baptist, Wimbledon . 
Holy Trinity, Swane .... 
St. Paul's, Hamlet Bead, Upper Norwood 
Ford Church, Northumberland . 
St. Michael's, Highgate 
Richmond Church .... 
Oswestry Parish Church 
St. Leonard's Parish Chui*ch 
Lnmanuel Church, Streatham 










































































































mJiHi KF^ rent . 


k MV> 

• • 



Churches, <t*c.-— contmued. 

Trinity Church, Cheltenham 

St. Mark's, Beigate . . • • 

Christ Church, Brighton 

St. John the Divine, Kennington 

Holy Trinity, Bournemouth 

Downs Baptist Chapel, Clapton . 

Camden Boad Baptist Chapel 

Metropolitan Tabernacle 

Begent's Park Baptist Chapel 

Chelmsford Congregational Chapel, London 


Blackheath Congregational Church 

New Court Congregational Church, Tolling- 

ton Park 

Craven Hill Congregational Chapel, Tolling 

ton P^k 

Lewisham Congregational Church, Tolling 

ton Park 

Brixton Independent Church 

St. John's Wood Presbyterian Church . 

St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Westboume 


Marylebone Presbyterian Church 
Central Synagogue .... 
Boman Catholic Churches and Chapels 
Primitive Methodist Connexion . 
Welsh Calvinistic Methodists 

£ 8. 


115 2 



189 10 

106 8 




113 14 


118 9 

270 18 

129 7 




163 14 


103 1 



130 13 


103 11 


117 7 


141 10 

133 9 


183 11 

832 10 

554 19 


1,060 18 






The record of the labours of the various local committees 
and sub-committees of the Madras Presidency covers 
nearly fifteen hundred pages of foolscap, in most cases 
printed in small type. It is obviously impossible to do 
more than give a general idea of the manner in which 
the money contributed was spent, and this could not, 
perhaps, be better done than in the words of the reports 
submitted from time to time. To these reports of com- 
mittees may usefully be added incidents of interest 
gleaned from the pages of the ' Weekly Statements of the 
Executive Relief Committee.' At the outset the general 
committee in Madras determined, whilst laying down 
broad lines of relief arrangements, to leave details to 
local committees. These committees proved themselves 
worthy of the trust reposed in them. This will appear 
from a few illustrative particulars: — 


The taluks of Tripatore and Uttengeny, which are in charge of 
the head assistant collector, Mr. LeFanu, contain a population of 
about 350,000 in 740 villages. The Uttengerry taluk is as large 
again as the Tripatore taJuk, and is sufifering from jQunine as severely 
as any taluk in the district except Darmapoory. 

The mode in which the committee proposes to work these taluks' 
for relief purposes is the following : — The taluk of Tripatore is divided 
into eight and that of Uttengerry into sixteen divisions, each division 
containing about thirty-four villages on an average. The members of 
committee have each undertaken to visit all the villages in one or 


more divisionB, to go from house to house and to inquire into the cir- 
cumstances of every householder, and to enter on the spot in a book 
made for the purpose the name of the person entitled to relief, the 
amount of kist paid on his land, and the amount within 20 rs. to be 
given him. If his case be such as to require more help than 20 rs. a 
note is to be made of it for the favourable consideration of the com- 
mittee. Then a ' ticket ' is given to the individual with a number on 
it corresponding to the number opposite his name in the book, and he 
is told to come to the taluk town any day after the 20th instant to get 
the sum allotted to him. The object of fixing this date is twofold — 
1, ih&t sufficient time be given to the delegates to prepare their lists 
and get them passed by the committee ; and, 2, that sufficient time 
be given to the Madras committee to arrange for I'emitting the sum 
asked for. The method entails much labour, but we are convinced 
that it is the onli/ ^dent plan of carrying out the intention of the 
relief committee. The list of gentlemen who have volunteered to 
carry out this plan in these taluks, which I append, will show you 
that money placed at the disposal of this committee will be utilised in 
the best possible manner to meet the necessities of the distressed. 

The urgent necessity of having the money placed at once at the 
disposal of the committee arises from the fact that unless cultivators 
are assisted within fifteen days to sow their fields, the season for sow- 
ing will have passed away and the opportunity of helping them lost 
for the present. I trust, therefore, that the sum asked for will be 
sanctioned without delay. 

Our calculation of the probable sum required is made as follows : — 
From inquiries made by me in some villages I conclude that an 
average of ten cultivators in each village will require help on an 
avei-age of 1 5 rs. each. In 740 villages this will amount to 1 1 1,000 rs., 
which is a little more than the sum asked. 

This committee agree with the Madi-as committee that it is very 
desirable to have some general standard by which grants to ryots in a 
collectorate should be regulated. But this is very difficult, and indeed 
impossible under the circumstances, if our aid to ryots is to be of real 
value. The time required for conference and discussion by committees 
before such a standard could be arrived at is the very time in which 
the ryots should sow their fields, and hence in which the aid of the 
committee would be of any permanent value to them. Besides, the 
necessities of ryots in different parts of the same districts vary, and 
hence the average amount to be given must also vary. When I wrote 
my letter of the 13th my calculation of the probable sum required for 
these two taluks was based on my experience in some villages in the 
southern part of the district. In those villages I found that small 


cultivators had either died, left their villageB, or had lapsed to the 
class of coolies ; and that only the more respectable had remained at 
home, greatly reduced in circumstances; in flact, in a state of great desti- 
tution. Hence I calculated that there would be an average of ten 
persons in every village who would require help averaging 15 rs. each. 
I have been this week visiting villages in this taluk every day, in order 
to prepare a list of such as are entitled to relief from the committee, 
and I find that the average number in each village is as much again, 
but that the average sum required by each person is less by one-half. 
That these villages are not a fair sample of all villages in the taluk I 
feel certain, for they are those which have suffered least from famine. 
The general principles on which this committee give help to culti- 
vators are these : — 

1. Kot to help such puttadars as can obtain a loan from Go- 


2. Not to give anything towards buying bullocks. 

3. Not to give money to any man unless the village munsif 

and others testify that what he says about his circum- 
stances is true and that he will use the money given 
him for cultivation. 

4. To help cultivators who have cattle to procure seed grain. 

5. To help such as have neither bullocks nor seed grain to buy 

the latter and hire the former. 

6. To help those whose houses are either wholly or partially 


Our plan of operation, which I sketched in my letter of the 13th 
instant, is such as to secure full and correct infoi-mation of every 
cultivator, and so of enabling us to give according to the relative 
wants of each individual, from 1 r. to 20 rs. — Trtpatore Committee. 

I enclose an English copy of * Instructions ' which we issue in 
Tamil to the agents of the local committee. After defining the 
classes Government provide for, these instructions sanction the five 
following kinds of relief : — 

1. Persons in great distress who are not entitled to Govern- 

ment help. 

2. Friendless children and orphans not reached by Government. 

3. Hire of two ploughs for a day, or one plough for two days, 

in cases of great poverty — equivalent to a grant of 1 2 annas. 

4. Where the roofs of houses have been sold for fodder, or have 

been sold for the sustenance of the owner, or have been 


burnt, three days' 000I7 for a man and a woman may be 
given when the need is gi*eat — the object being to give 
support while the work is being done. 
5. In extreme cases clothing may be given during the cold 
season — three yards of rough cloth to an adult, and one 
and a half for a child. 

The maximum aid per diem to be given to an adult is the value of 
1 lb. of rice (equal to 1 anna 3 pies at present) and 3 pies in money, 
and for a child half that amount. 

No aid in excess of 5-8-0 rs. per mensem is to be given to one 
family without the express sanction of the Committee. — Div/lvjul 

At no better place than this perhaps could the tes- 
timony of the Government of India to the good work 
done by the local committees be stated. Writing to the 
Secretary of State, the Viceroy in Council said: 'In 
their " Weekly Statement " of October 20 the committee 
laid down the general principles which have since 
guided their expenditure. With the assistance of the 
Government officials in the districts, and by the agency 
of two of their own delegates, they established sub- 
committees and agencies all over the country, number- 
ing by last reports no less than 110; and to these sub- 
committees they entrusted the expenditure of their 
funds, with the general instructions that two-thirds of 
the sums supplied were to be expended in giving to 
agriculturists the means of starting afresh in their call- 
ing, by assisting them to rebuild their houses, and to 
re-purchase bullocks and implements of agriculture, &c. ; 
and one-third was to go towards relieving the destitute 
classes not reached by Government agency. How this 
latter part of the scheme has worked, and whether it 
has clashed in any way with the relief given out of 
Government funds, we have no information; but as the 
district officers must of necessity be the backbone of 
the sub-committees, and as the instructions of the com- 


mittee have been precise and explicit, to avoid all 
appearance of interference with the action of Govern- 
ment, we presume that, although the operations of the 
committee must at some points have overlapped those 
of Government, yet, on the whole, the money has been 
usefiilly expended, and that no friction has taken place* 
In regard to the main scheme, however, of setting up 
agriculturists, we have explicit testimony, borne by 
several officers, to the excellent effect it has had in pre- 
serving the self-respect and position of the ryot, saving 
him from sinking to the position of a day labourer, and 
enabling him to turn to the best advantage the favour- 
able prospects of the season. We do not think a more 
judicious method of expending the bulk of the vast 
sums placed at the disposal of the committee could have 
been devised, and it has doubtless done incalculable 
good. Our heartiest acknowledgments are due to the 
committee for this result, and for the care they have 
taken to avoid friction or interference with the measures 
of Government.' ^ 

The nature of the relief actually afforded may be 
gathered from the following extracts: — 

Dindigul, November 17, 1877. 

We are now progressiog well with the work of distributiDg the 
fiindB placed at our disposal. We have already sent out into the 
villages 18,000 rs., most of which has been distributed, leaving us at 
this present with a balance of 7,000 rs. in hand. It has already been 
necessary to modify our original plan of distribution. In that we 
depended principally upon the sei vices of the village officials for the 
distribution of relief, their work being controlled and attested by 
honorary members of the committee, consisting chiefly of the principal 
ryots residing in the villages. We soon found these officials were not 
trustworthy. In most cases there was delay in bestowing relief, and 
greater delay in submitting reports and retui es. During the famine 
these men have had much extra work thiown on theii* hands ; for 

^ The despatch from which the above is taken was written in reply to 
one from the Secretary of State, dated November 8. 


example, the distribution of money doles in their villages, while their 
only pay was a piece of manippa land, which in the famine brings 
them in nothing, and is a loss to them by the amount they have 
expended upon it. Is it surprising that with daily facilities for mis- 
appropriating money, and with the pressure of the famine upon them, 
they recouped themselves for theii* work and time by retaining money 
which should have relieved needy villagers ? I have no hesitation in 
saying that the village officials have been demoralised during the 
famine. It would have been money well spent if funds which have 
gone to import men and horses from other parts of India had been 
employed in rewarding these wretchedly remunerated village officials 
for the substantial and responsible work they were called upon to 
perform. As it was, a short experience proved that it was inexpedient 
to employ them ; and the honorary members, who were appointed 
without a reference being first made to them, proved in the majority 
of cases either unwilling or incompetent to do our work. 

In this state of things we had to look around for other agencies 
which were fortunately at hand. The Rev. J. S. Chandler, d£ Battala- 
gundu, undertook the distribution of funds, directly, or by the aid of 
his catechists and teachers, in sixty villages. The Bev. E. Chester 
allowed his subordinates to take charge of forty-one villages. The 
Rev. L. St. Cyr and the Rev, A* J. Larmey, Roman Catholic priests, 
had the distribution in thirty-one villages allotted to them ; and the 
special deputy collector, Subba Iyer, undertook relief operations in 
forty-three villages; 'while I employed agents in seventeen villages. 
This makes a total of 197 villages thus provided for out of 204 in the 
taluk. The distributors are all strongly urged to avail themselves of 
the local knowledge of the village officials and principal ryots while 
bestowing relief. 

We find this plan works very well. The committee appoints 
the proportion of relief to be given in each village. Special cases 
needing extra assistance must be referred to the committee. Occa- 
sionally a village headman refuses to attest the registers and tickets 
because he is not paid for it and it is not Government work ; but a 
substantial ryot can always do this duty. At times the distributor 
has been urged to divide a certain proportion of the funds with the 
village officials, and in one case the goomastah of a village munsif 
kept back a portion of the money dole, on the pretext that the persons 
owed money to him. We have not yet met with any case where the 
distributors have taken a part in, or connived at, wrong-doing of this 
sort. This committee acknowledge with pleasure the earnestness and 
promptitude with which the various distributors have entered upon 
this chaiitable duty. 

126 PRIVATE CHAiaxr. 

The suffering in the district is still great, and mast needs be till 
after the harvest is gathered in. At Kettiappetty, during the short 
time the agent of this committee was there bestowing relief, three 
persons died of starvation. Out of thirteen children sent to me a 
fortnight ago, five have already succumbed, and others remain in a 
very precarious condition. I have started an orphanage, in which 
there are at present 124 children. Within the next week the number 
will reach 150. Some of the children sent from the oatl3ring dis- 
tricts are in a most deplorable condition, and the utmost care and 
attention fails in many cases to save them. 

There are villages where special help is needed. In some places 
almost the entire village has been burned down by thieves who hoped 
to profit by the confusion. For example, the village of Malliap- 
panpatti consisted of two or three streets of Koman Catholic and one 
row of pariah houses. The houses were fired and all destroyed, with 
the exception of the pariah houses. This happened some months since, 
yet many of the villagers have been unable to rebuild their houses, and 
seek aid from us. 

We are thankful for the means placed at our disposal for relieving 
the general distress, and trust that, as the sum already allotted to us 
will soon be expended, the general committee will give us a further 
grant of 10,000 rs. for the month of December. 

P.S. — I had scarcely completed this letter, when a communication 
from a member of the committee came to hand, from which I extract 
the following paragraph : — 

* A young man died at our church-door last night. A Chakklia 
boy died, and the body was left unburied for five days in Pangalapatti. 
In Athoor, when they were distributing relief, a man who stepped 
forward to receive his dole at the call of his name died from the effort 
before receiving the dole.' — W. Yorke. 

Ck>imbatore, November 25, 1877. 

I have the honour to submit another report on the working of the 
local committee at Coimbatore; and I trust that the general com- 
mittee wiQ be satisfied that the funds are being distributed and aid 
afforded to those requiring it with as much rapidity as is possible. 
My former report shows the modes of relief to which we are giving 
our particular attention, and it is unnecessary to recapitulate them. 

2. In the town of Coimbatore the expenditure during the past 
fortnight has been 3,632 rs. 12 annas, as shown in the following 
table : — 



Form of Relief 

Support of life, money dole, &c. 

Day nuraeriee . 

Clothing .... 

Repairing houses 

To cultivators for seed, &c. 

Miscellaneous charity . 

Office expenses . 

No. of persons 








Rs. A. 

2,468 8 

615 12 

217 16 

272 4 


77 3 


3,632 12 

The averages will be found to be as satisfactory as in my former 
report. A sum of 283 rs. 9 annas has to be deducted from the cost 
proper of feeding the children in the day nursery, for that sum was 
expended in building the three sheds required and in fencing the 
same ; a lump sum of 28 rs. 10 annas was also paid for some Swiss 
milk, of which very little, however, has yet been used. Making 
allowance for these sums, the averages ai*e approximately 7^ annas per 
head for money doles; 8^ pies for the day nursery; 15 annas for 
clothing; 3-12 rs. for repairing houses; 9-6-4 rs. to cultivators; 
6-1 annas for miscellaneous charity. 

3. I mentioned in my last that we contemplated starting a large 
day nursery, or, more properly speaking, a feeding-kitchen for poor 
children : and we find it working admirably. The number of children 
has increased, and, as will be seen, the daily average of children fed 
numbers 337. Two of the ladies of the station have most kindly 
undertaken the superintendence of the kitchen, and are indefatigable 
in their attendance and care for the children who flock to the place. 
There are still many cases of most feaifully emaciated children, some 
still coming, whose chances of life seem quite gone ; and since October 
12, when the kitchen was first commenced, thirteen children, who were 
too far gone when brought to the kitchen, have died. But numbers of 
children have benefited, and been saved by this timely aid ; some 
have so improved that they have been removed fix>m the list, and 
others are rapidly improving ; and it is a pleasure to contrast their 
appearance now, bad as in many cases it still is, with their general 
appearance some few weeks back. 

4. The repoi-ts from the various sub-committees among whom the 
town was divided are all most cheering, showing that, though distress 
still prevails in parts, and will continue until the harvest is got in and 
prices fall, the general condition of the people is much improved, and 
the numbers receiving weekly doles wUl probably be soon reduced ; 



though the expenditure for clothing and repair of houses may 

5. The item of miscellaneous charity is given to help strangers 
back to their villages, and also to those who have no fixed residence 
in town and yet require immediate reli^. 

6. In the Coimbatore taluk the returns show an expenditure of 
8,14-7-8 rs. ; the averages being nearly 1 r. per head for money doles ; 
4^ annas for clothing ; 7-3-3 rs. for repairing houses; 6-2-10^ rs. to 
cultivators ; and 8-1 0§ annas for miscellaneous charity. The average 
for money doles is higher than in the town, but that is owing to the 
fact that in many cases money doles have to be given for two or three 
weeks at a time, as the villages cannot be constantly visited, while 
in the town the doles are given weekly. 

Fonii of Relief 

Support of life, money doles, &c 
Olothing .... 
Kepairing houses 
To cultivators for seed, &c. 
MiBcellaneous charity . 

No. of persons 







Rs. A. 
6,342 10 

76 10 
1,648 8 
1,229 12 


8,147 8 

7. The reports from the sub-committees of this taluk show that 
almost all lands are now under cultivation save those purposely 
reserved for pasturage ; that the growing crops are very fine, and that 
prospects are most cheering : at the same time, in some outlying 
villages whei'e Government aid had clearly never penetrated, there is 
still much distress and much emaciation, especially among the children, 
and help will be needed till January. Besides the money doles the 
chief aid now to be given is for repairing and rebuilding houses, 
many having been totally destroyed. 

8. In Pulladum taluk the expenditure has been 13,949-4 rs.; and 
the averages, as far as can be estimated, for the number of persons 
relieved has not always been given, is 11-10 annas for money doles; 
1-8 rs. for repairing houses; 6-1-6 rs. to cultivators; 5-8 annas for 
miscellaneous charity. The sum shown for clothing is the amount 
expended in the purchase of cloths, which are being gradually dis- 
tributed ; and the returns do not show the number distributed up to 
the 15th instant. 



Form of Relief 

Support of life, money doles, &c. 


Kepairing houses 

To cultivators for seed, &c. 

Miscellaneous charity. 

Office expenses .... 

No. of persons 


Rs. A. 


2,254 6 

624 14 




10,022 11 


60 12 


9 10 

13,949 4 

9. From this tahik the report showB the prospects to be good ; 
cultivation progressing steadily, the cholnm and cumboo crops pro* 
mising to be very fine. But in many cases ryots still want help, 
having spent their all in bringing their lands under cultivation, and 
not being, of course, able to go to the Grovemment Belief Works, since 
they must continue to watch and tend their growing crops. 

10. In this taluk I regret to say that there have been very serious 
complaints of the extortions practised on the poor ryots by the 
officials, the monegars and cumums. It has been reported that in 
many cases the monegars and cumums have extorted one-half of the 
relief given to the ryots ; and in one case where 6 rs. were given to a 
lad for his support and to enable him to repair his house, no less than 
5 rs. were said to have been taken by the village officials, the reason 
for such an exaction being that the lad had at first refused to give 
anything. This last case was, I am glad to say, at once brought to 
the notice of Mr. Gnanabaranom Pillay, one of our committee 
members, who was visiting the taluk, and h9 at once brought it to 
the notice of the magistrate, who has taken up the case. The 
magistrate has written to me that on his taking up the inquiry a 
large number of similar complaints were made to him ; and our com- 
mittee member, Mr. Gnanabaranom Pillay, is going out to the taluk 
to prosecute such cases as may be brought to light. I hear that the 
prompt action of the magistrate has had an immediate good efiect, 
causing the restoration of a great part of what had been extorted, and 
I trust that any true cases may be successfully prosecuted, and this 
wholesale plunder by village officials be put a stop to. 

11. In the taluk of Oodoomalapettah the expenditure has been 
11,297-1-6 rs., the averages being 2-5-7 rs. for money doles; IJ rs. 
for clothing; 3-12 rs. for repairing houses; 4-0-3 rs. to cultivators; 
1-11-1 rs. for miscellaneous charity. The average for money doles 
may seem high compared with other taluks, but it is to be explained 
by the doles being given to last over some weeks, as the villages cannot 
be constantly visited. 




Form of Relief 

Support of life, money doles, &c. 


RepairiDg houses 

To cultivators for seed 

Miscellaneous charity. 

Office expenses .... 

No. of persons 






Re. a. 

1,753 8 

84 4 


8,667 4 

60 12 

3 5 

11,297 1 

12. The Bub-committee hope that by the end of the month they 
will have disbursed all the money received. They report that, as in 
other taluks, cultivation is general and prospects excellent, the fear 
now seeming to be that there may be too much rain. 

13. The return from Pollachy taluk has not been received by me, 
it having been returned to that sub>committee for amendment ; but 
the distress there is very little and the amount expended is conse- 
quently small, while Mr. Moonesawmy, the assistant surgeon there, 
who has joined our committee, reports that he still has sufficient 
funds in his hands. 

14. I think the general committee may rest assured that the 
funds are being distributed wisely and expeditiously. What has 
occurred in Pulladum taluk shows the difficulties that stand in the 
way of distribution, even where the committee members are on the 
spot and pay the money personally into the hands of the recipients of 
relief; and shows how impossible it is to delegate the distribution to 
others than the committee members. It is also reported that in 
many cases the village officers report lands as uncultivated which on 
inspection are found to have growing crops ; so that it is impossible 
to rely on reports without personal inspection to test their truth. 
Committee members being, then, the only reliable agents for the 
actual distribution of the money, the distribution must necessarily 
occupy some little time. But in spite of all these difficulties I think 
the funds are being well distributed. The only complaints we have 
had have been from the PuUadum taluk ; and I do not think the 
general committee need fear that there has been any delay such as 
to affect the cultivation, seeing that from every taluk we receive 
reports that all lands are under cultivation. 

15. The ryots have certainly shown well in these trying times. 
In many cases they have litersdly sold everything in order to be ablo 
to sow their lands ; and though the lands are sown the ryots must be 
supported until the harvest ia got in. They well deserve it, and such. 


as 1 gather from one sub-committee's reports, will be one principal 
form of relief for the next month or two. 

F,S. — Our fortnightly return will be sent as soon as the amended 
return is received from PoUachy. 

Trichinopoly, December 11, 1877. 

I have the honour to forward my report on the operations of the 
Trichinopoly Local Committee to November 30, to go by to-morrow's 
post together with the prescribed returns and a printed copy of our 
Proceedings, dated November 29, 1877. 

There was a short delay in our getting to work in the outlying 
portions of the district in consequence of the exceedingly heavy rain 
which fell last month and made travelling a matter of difficulty 
everywhere, and in some places impossible, but the task of distributing 
funds has been pushed on with vigour and we have already brought 
relief to the doors of a vast number of indigent persons. 

We commenced work by dividing the whole district into circles, 
and to each circle one member of our committee was appointed to go 
frt)m village to village and fr^m house to house, administering relief 
to those persons who were in want of food, making advances to ryots 
for the purchase of seed and for the hire of ploughing cattle and 
giving clothes to the naked. 

The general condition of the district was even worse than we 
anticipated, and from nearly every side we have received reports 
showing how severe and widespread was the distress. Mr. Pattabiram 
Fillai, the collector's sheristadar, and a member of our committee, writes 
of the Manapparai circle as follows : ' The people are in as wretched a 
state as could be imagined.' * Three-fourths of the houses in Poyam- 
patti are roofless.* In another village * 35 houses have been deserted.' 

In Melayadupatti and its suburbs *I saw the same thing over 
again — ruined houses, emaciated men and women, and skeleton chil- 
dren, a sad spectacle.' * The state of these people and of those whom 
I had the good fortune to relieve in the Manapparai circle cannot be 
realised by any who have not seen them. ... I was sun*ounded by 
hundreds of females and children with scarcely a cloth to cover them.' 
Speaking generally of the condition of a group of 15 villages in his 
circle he says, * The people were eating wild-grown greens which the 
late rains have produced — their huts were in ruins and afforded them no 
shelter, their clothes were all rags, and most of them were almost naked.' 

Yoiu* committee will see from these brief extracts how terrible was 
the distress in his circle, and what energy it required to bring relief 
surely and swiftly to every man's house. Mr. Pattabiram has devoted 
the whole of his time to this work with the most gratifying results. 

K 2 


In his last repoi-ts he writes, * Crowds of ryots went in for the 
purchase of paddy, grain, and cumboo seeds in the fairs which are 
held in their vicinity. . . . They have set about repairing their houses, 
ploughing their waste fields, sowing seeds and preparing seed beds.' 
The clothes sent by the Trichinopoly Committee (200 pieces, each 40 
yards long and 1^ yards wide) were of the gi-eatest use. The people 
piized them highly. 

The commissioner for the Kuttalai circle, a pensioned tahsildar, 
writes that many of the lyots are in a very reduced condition without 
seed or money to pay labourers or to maintain themselves. 

From the Musiri circle accounts are rather more cheering. Mr. 
Salisbury writes that there is a fair average of land under cultivation 
in the 68 villages visited by him. 

From Arealur, Mr. J. Arivanandam Pillai writes that the stand- 
ing crops in some 50 villages have been utterly destroyed by locusts. 
He describes the state of one village, Thiranypoliem, as follows : * The 
whole of the ryots, including the village munsif, presented such a 
ghastly appearance that I never saw anything like it during the 
whole of the famine. I was somewhat thrown back in my ardour by 
the remarks of the tahsildar and the deputy collector, who were of 
opinion that there was no great fe.mine in their taluks ; but when I 
actually went to the villages the ravages of the locusts, the emaciated 
bodies of the ryots, the tottering condition of their huts, the torn rags 
which covered their nether limbs, all these told me a different tale. 
The distress is beyond description.* 

Our operations in Udayarpollium taluk were checked by a letter 
dated November 7, addressed to our Vice-President, Mr. Seshiah 
Sastri, C.S.I. , by the tahsildar, who writes as follows : ' On a careful 
enquiry into the condition of this taluk I find that there is very little 
necessity at present for affording any relief whatever to any class of 
poor people here.' 

Further enquiry, however, into the actual state of the taluk placed 
under his charge led the tahsildar to alter his opinion, and on 
December 4 he writes again to ask for money for ryots who have no 
food and no means to buy food. 

The general result of our work in the taluks for the period ending 
November 30 is as follows : — 

In Manapparai 10,829 persons have received 5,339 rs. for support 
of life; 1,779-15 rs. have been spent in providing clothing, 1,525 rs. 
for repairing houses, and 2,928 rs. for purchase of seed, &c. 

In the same circle Tahsildar Sambamuti Ayar distributed 2,221 
rs. for support of life; for clothing, 1,196 rs.; for re})airing houses, 
897 rs. ; for purchase of seed and bullock hire, 1,310 rs 


In the Musiri taluk 824 persons received 1,992 rs. for the support 
of life ; 342 were clothed (411 rs.) ; 176 rs. were given for the repair 
of 51 huts, and 11 cultivators received 102 rs. among them for the 
purchase of seed grain. 

In Arealur 636 persons received support, and 48 persons were 
clothed. These numbers, however, represent but a very small portion 
of the whole work that has to be accomplished in this circle, and 
which is being proceeded with as fast as circumstances will allow. 

In the KuttaJai circle 49 persons received 233 rs. for support of 
life; 97 were clothed ;.40 houses were repaired ; 377 persons received 
1,791 rs. for purchase of seed, <kc. - 

In Thatchenkurchi circle (Trichinopoly taluk) 1,439 persons re- 
ceived varying sums of money for support of life ; 1,214 were clothed ; 
208 received sums of money for repairs of houses; 444 received 
advances for the purchase of seed. 

The Kev. Mr. Joyce, Eoman Catholic chaplain ; Mr. Seshiah Sas- 
tri, C.S.I.j Mr. Adolphus ; M.Il.Ily. Perriasamy Mudaliyar, and the 
Bev. Mr. Guest undertook the duty of looking after the poor of the 
town of Trichinopoly. 

Mr. Seshiah Sastri and Perriasamy Mudaliyar have disbursed 
5,457 rs. for the support of life for about 700 families of Gosha women 
containing 2,107 souls. Some of the money was intended for repair- 
ing houses destroyed by the rains, and some 200 rs. were distributed 
to the poorest boys in the Government Normal School. 

The Bev. Mr. Guest has distributed money to 2,033 persons for 
support of life ; 72 persons were clothed ; 30 rs. were advanced to 3 

The Kev. Mr. Joyce has relieved 1,682 persons, and 200 were 
clothed ; 33 rs. were given for repairing houses. 

From the Bev. Mr. Adolphus 280 persons have received advances 
for support of life ; clothes were issued costing 25 rs.; 17 ra. were 
given for repairing houses. 

Mr. Webster has spent 597 rs. for subsistence of 121 ryots, pur- 
chase of seed, hire of bullocks, &c. 

Mr. Parsick, C.E., has distributed among 1,440 persons, chiefly the 
children and women of coolies attending the relief works, clothes 
valued at 1,000 rs. 

By the Bev. Mr. Nicholas 162 rs. were distributed for support of 
life, and 10 rs. were speut on clothing in the TJdaiyarpolliem taluk. 

The reports received from these gentlemen tell the same tale of 
great distress and suffering and of gratitude for timely relief afforded. 
The narratives of distress in the town are all touching and painfully 
interesting. Of one section of people, the Gosha women, Mr. Seshiah 


Sastri writes as follows : * Some of the dwellings are respectable, but 
the generality are wretched hovels, which, with the household utensils, 
are not worth more than a few rupees. In them dwell Gosha ladies 
with their numerous families, eking out a miserable subsistence out of 
their own earnings from laoe-work, and making gold thread, malring 
up flower garlands and green bangles and out of any earnings of their 
husbands, descended of once well-to-do &milies, but now sunk to the 
position of jutka drivers, menial servants, punkah pullers, or in receipt 
of a scanty and unoertaiu income from nominal religious service at 
mouldering tombs and half-ruined dargahs. The tale of famine as 
we read it in the condition of these Gosha women and of their 
wretched huts was in many cases most heai'trending. Some fiunilies 
represented the nobility of the days of Chunda Sahib : Dewans, com- 
mandants, killedars, royal physicians, and palace high priests.' 
The condition of other classes of people in other quarters of the town 
is vividly painted by the Rev. Messrs. Adolphus, Joyce, and Guest 

Extracts from these i-eports and from those received from the 
taluks are forwarded with this letter, and will, I believe, be perused 
with gr^t interest by your committee. 

We are still in full swing and have plenty to do before our work 
comes to a close. It is not yet too late to make advances for the pur- 
chase of seed grain, and we have many poor persons who are still in 
need of clothing. Mr. Seshiah Sastri having telegraphed to Bombay, 
Madras, and Negapatam, found that the latter place afforded the 
cheapest market, and we have already obtained 500 pieces of doth 
from that town. 

Ealastri, February 1878. 

To check the application of relief the committee have appointed 
four supervisors who receive weekly a list of grants made, with their 
objects, and who, after inquiry, report as to the use which the re- 
cipients have made of the money received. The grants for seed grain 
and bullocks are the most important, and the report on these, though 
weekly continued, cannot be completed until next month, i.e., until 
after sowing time is over. 

The reports received to-day may perhaps be taken as typical. They 
show that out of 14 villages for which reports are received to-day, the 
whole amount of land for which advances have been made has been 
cultivated in eleven cases : in the remaining three cases advances have 
been given for sowing 44 kawnies, of whidi 23| kawnies are already 
sown, and the rest of the land is ploughed ready for sowing. The 
total expenditure thus far is, then, grants for seed grain and bul- 
locks. Ryots understand thoroughly the gratuitous nature of the 


grant. Fully one-half of the cultivation now on the ground is from 
seed grain bought with Mansion House money. 
The expenditure thus far is as follows : 

Rs. a. p. 

(1) For seed gndn and bullocks . . . d0,095 14 

(2) „ Money doles and cloths . . . 1,284 4 6 

(3) ,, Office charges 206 1 6 

(4) „ Oontingencies 24 15 4 

This leaves a balance of 2,487-12 rs. in the hands of the Kalastri 

This balance, together with the 5,000 rs. now asked for, the Com- 
mittee propose to expend thus : 

Rs. a. p. 

(1) Seed grain and bullocks .... 4,500 

(2) Money doles, houses, weavers' cloths . 2,380 

(3) Office charges 580 

(4) Oontingencies 27 12 

7^87 12 

As giving an indication of the suffering caused by 
high prices, the following letter, written by the Honour- 
able A, Seshiah Sastri, C.S.I., once prime minister of 
Travancore, is instructive: — 

Trichinopoly, December 6, 1877. 

I take the liberty of writing a few lines, touching the condition of 
the poor people residing in the Fort and suburbs of Tanjore, to which 
place I paid a visit the other day, and request the fistvour of your 
laying the same before the President and members of the committee 
at your earliest convenience for their consideration. 

2. I am a native of the Tanjore district — served there upwards of 
three years, now ten years ago, residing in the town of Tanjore, and, 
during the greater portion of that time, held the honorary ofEice of 
Vice-President of the Municipality, the duties of which brought me 
face to face with every class of the residents and took me to eveiy 
nook and comer of the town. I have thus had ample opportunities 
of observing and knowing the condition of the people dwelling therein, 
and may therefore be trusted in the statements which I am about 
to make. 

3. Moreover, during my recent brief visit, I met many of my old 
friends, both in and out of the service, and derived much information 
from them as to the present distress among the poor of the town. 

4. The Mahrattas of Tanjore, both Sundras and £rahmins« form a 


singularly isolated community, whom the adventures of war, two 
centuries back, threw suddenly into the possession of one of the richest 
and finest kingdoms in the Carnatic, and time and distance have 
almost completely cut off their connections with their mother-country 
— Maharashtra. 

5. Once in possession of the principality which fell to them for the 
asking almost, they seldom had further occasion for the exercise of 
military virtues, and, as a people, they soon relapsed into an easy and 
luxurious life, and everything which could contribute to finery and 
luxury was cultivated to a perfection which to this day has not been 
attained in the court of any other native prince in India. 

6. Leaving out the members of the Boyal Family, the families 
more distantly related to it, the dignitaries of the palace, all of whom 
contented themselves with basking in the sunshine of royal favour 
and grace, and deriving the means of living in splendour direct 
from the Sovereign's bounty — leaving out the numerous class of 
officials, high and low, who, in the plenitude of unbridled power, de- 
rived a boundless income, the mass of the Mahrattas derived an easy, 
comfortable subsistence, some by betaking to service, almost nominal 
in many cases, on the numerous establishments of the supeiior class 
above alluded to, as bearers of swords, maces, lances, fiags, and various 
other emblems of power- as sepoys, as peons, as mahoute, as drivers, 
as household stewards, ck;. Others by betaking to professions not re- 
quiring severe manual labour, such as making flower garlands, lace* 
work, embroidery, and tapestry; and similar refined occupations too 
numerous to mention. 

7. On the cession of the principality to the British about 80 years 
ago, the wealth and affluence of many, chiefly of the official class, dis- 
appeared. But as moist of the members and dependents of the Royal 
Family and the grandees and dignitaries of State always lived within 
the town, their condition was not very seriously affected, so long as 
the Eaj was maintained and supported by the Punjum Hassa allow- 

8. When the Kaj, however, became extinct, scarcely a quarter of a 
century ago, the fall became to them a reality, and in spite of arrange- 
ments considerately made by the British with a view to break the fall, 
ruin and wretchedness have been overtaking them year after year ; for 
the impoverishment of each nobleman's family involved in the ruin 
perhaps a dozen poor families, their servants and dependents. The 
pensioned class have been, for years, bearing up against the severe 
pressure of high prices. Those engaged in occupations I have already 
described have been sinking deeper and deeper in poverty, both by the 
falling off of their trades and by the high price of food grains. 


Though a few families have emigrated, still the mass cling to their 
homes, trying to make a suhsistenoe out of almost nothing. 

9. Simple, artless, ignorant, and credulous in the extreme, knowing 
and caring to know nothing of the world outside, unaccustomed to 
severe work, and addicted to an idle and luxurious life, and pi*oud of 
historical associations yet too fresh to be forgotten, they have been, 
with very few exceptions, in a very wretched condition of late years. 
As one of them very pithily said to me, * We cannot work — we will 
not steal — we must not beg — we are left to starve.* 

10. In several families, of even the poorest, the females are quasi- 
Gosha, and are utterly unproductive members. I mean unproductive 
in an economic sense — for otherwise, poverty and progeny seem to go 
only too much hand in hand ! 

11. Now, I think, it will be easy to conceive the eflfects of a ter- 
rible famine on a population so situated — a famine which has taken 
away all the surplus produce of the district, and sent up the cost of 
the food grains to at least three times the normal prices. I have been 
informed that the present condition (as indeed their past ever since 
the famine began) of at least a thousand families is deplorable in the 
extreme, and I, who know the people so well, can well realise it. 

12. It is nothing against the argument of my cause, if the district 
of Tanjore yielded a fair crop last year, or if a bumper crop is maturing 
on the ground in the present. Naboth's vineyard is indeed laden with 
fruit — ^but what of it to the poor neighbours, who cannot get or buy 
a share of it. This is exactly the position of the bulk of the poor of 
Tanjore Fort and suburbs, and it is on their behalf I venture to appeal 
to the general relief committee at Madras, who are so nobly adminis- 
tering the charity of the English nation. I feel confident that no 
portion of the Mansion House fund could be better spent than on 
the mansions of fia,llen greatness in Tanjore or in the tottering hovels 
where poverty reigns supreme. I feel sure that a grant of 75,000 rs. 
will go a great way to bring relief home to them and send into many 
a poor man's hut a ray of cheerfulness in a night of darkness. I also 
think I could organise a thoroughly respectable and trustworthy 
agency to carry out the distribution of relief, should my proposal meet 
with sanction. 

The system adopted in Mysore, where district officers 
were more freely employed than in Madras, will be seen 
from the two tables appended: — 



Extxact from diaiy of Mr. Venkbt Row, Special Relief Officer, 

Eolur District. 

Monday, January 7. — ^Visited (3 milee) Ellavoopally P. Oensus work 
occupied me from 7 A.X., to 3 p.x. During which relief was given to 4 
families. 00 rs. were distributed among them as follows : — 










Akki, with a brother and two dauffhters. 
Her condition was enough to touch even 
the hardest heart. Pays 12 rs. Kanda- 
y am, had 2 bullocks and 2 cows last year 

Mooneaka, with two grown-up sons and 
2 pairs of bullocks and 30 sheep last 
year, has one bullock. I{o bouse 

Baswa, with two brothers, a sister and 
mother, all were in the Sriniwaspoor 
I lelief Camp. Had a pair of good duI- 
locks, 4 she-bufiitloee, 15 sheep. Pays 
7 rs. Eandayam. His land is not culti- 
vated ; has no house 

Hanama, by caste Vaddar, a son and two 
miserable daughters lately retunied 
from relief camps, now lives by beg- 
ging. Has no house 

For a pair of bullocks 

For one bullock and 
to build a hut 

6 rs. for hut 
6 rs. for food 
20 rs. for a pair of 

6 rs. for a hut 
5 rs. for food 
10 rs. for a pair of 

The relief afforded to the two last cases was an incalculable blesmng to 
them, for they never even dreamt that, in their present desperate condition, to 
which they had been inured for 18 months past, a relief of this kind, en- 
abling them to settle once more in life with their relations, would come to 
them so unexpectedly. 

Returned home at 4 p.m. 

Wednegday, January 9. — Visited two villages, Sataandhalli and Gui>- 
ganahalli. 205 rs. were distributed among 17 families in both the villages, 
as follows :— 









Vengti, with a grown-up son and two 
children, her husband died of starva- 

25 rs. for a pair of 


tion. Pays 8 rs. Kandayam 



Vengatrama, has one bullock. Pays 8 is. 

10 rs. for a bullock 



Timmi and her daughter 

2 rs. to patch up hut, 
3 rs. for fooa 



Mooniga, his mother and wife. Pays 7 rs. 
JtLandayam, hfiA become a day labourer, 

20 rs. for a pair of 


his land is waste 



Yenketrama, has one bullock, pays 7 rs. 

10 rs. for a bullock, 


3 rs. to patch up hut 



Mooniga, has one bullock 

10 rs. for a bullock 



Naga, weaver, and three dependents, has 
a loom 

5 rs. for materials 



Venketramu, and nine members, all in 

25 rs. for buUocks, 

miserable condition, has 20 acres of 

10 18. for food 

dry land and no bullocks, had a pair of 

bullocks and 3 cows last year 



Lutchmi and three others 

10 rs. for a bullock 
or a cow 



Dassa and four others, pays 5 rs. Kandi^ 
yam, has one bullock 

10 rs. for a bullock 



Moonehanooma, and three others . 

5 rs. for clothing 



Lonna, weaver low caste, has no loom . 

5 rs. for loom. 


5 rs. for materials 



Byah, has no house .... 

5 rs. for house 
2 rs. for clothing 



Moonigah, weaver, has a loom 

4 rs. for materials 


(a page from a delegate's note-book.) 

The ryots are a very simple race, with child-like 
habits of dependence on whomsoever finds them the 
pittance they require to borrow now and then to form 
the trifling capital requisite for their rude operations in 

At one place the notices convening a famine meeting 
had been issued sufficiently early to allow some idea of 
the purposes of the Madras Committee to get abroad in 
the bazaars and through the villages. The meeting was 
held, and it was decided to apply for funds for distribu- 
tion. In the afternoon a band of some 250 ryots appeared 
in the compound of the house, and sent in word that 
they had come for their money. A message was sent back 
to them that no money was as yet* available for distribu- 
tion ; when they sat down in ranks, apparently with 
the intention of being on the spot to secure the promised 
aid the moment it should arrive. As time passed on, 
and night fell, there was no clamour, but the poor 
fellows slipped away by twos and threes till the place 
was empty. Probably each of them has ere this been 
gladdened by the receipt of a dole sufficient to give 
them a start, and has had his faith in the committee 
fully restored. 

I wish I could paint a picture which would show 
the English subscribers the following scene: 

A window in an old public building opening into a 


courtyard — time 6.30 p.m., so that the Indian apology 
for twilight is almost over. On the window-seat is a 
flickering candle by which sits a pale Englishman, one 
of the best known of our civilian judges. Standing by 
him another judge — perhaps the best native lawyer in 
the Empire ; behind them, looming in the shadowy 
background, several members of committee, native and 
European, and your " delegate." Just below the candle 
on a ledge along the wall is an energetic East Indian 
gentleman, who takes now and again a ticket from the 
holder below. In the courtyard is a motley crew of all 
sorts. Gap-toothed crones and younger women de- 
formed or sickly ; old men tottering with age and 
young men with palsy ; children of both sexes homeless, 
friendless, and foodless. Then a sprinkling of mauvais 
sujets^ professional beggars, and here and there a sturdy 
old mendicant of the Ochiltree type, who considers 
himself prescriptively entitled to a share of any * awms ' 
which may be going anywhere in his beat. 

This is the Local Committee inspecting, as a body, 
the applicants for relief to whom individual members of 
their body have given tickets. 

The children are the class par excellence which the 
grisly old giant Famine delights to run ^ amok ' amongst. 
You can tell at a glance the poor wee bairns that have 
been in his cruel grip. The head looking unnaturally 
large by contrast with the emaciated trunk, the shoulder 
blades projecting as if they had been inserted by mistake 
in too small a carcase, the arms and legs shrivelled to 
the size of thqir bones, except at the knees which are 
swollen. Then the expression of the bleared little faces. 
The vacant fixed loolc in the eyes, the drawn cheeks 
and lips, and the premature air of resignation, which 
one sees sometimes in a monkey when it looks up at 
you with the mournful face of an old man whose 
troubles had told on him. 


At one place the faces of some of the children 
haunted us so much that orders were given for 200 
of the worst cases to be collected. You should have 
seen them, for I could not hope to give you an adequate 
idea of their misery. In some the last forces of their 
system seemed to have been expended in growing, and 
I never saw folk out of Dora's drawings whose length 
was so hideously disproportionate to their breadth. 

Others were tiny and wizened every way, as if an 
attempt had been made to see into how small a compass 
a suflFering body and soul could be compressed. 

The whole party, after we had inspected them, were 
marched off to a camp, but as it was impossible of 
course to coerce them, over 100 slipped away, and only 
96 reached the new home. The poor wee runaways 
preferred, I suppose, the evils they knew of, bad as 
they were, to the horrid vague unknown. Those that 
allowed themselves to be taken care of, were fed ad lib,j 
and in one part at least of each little body that line 
of beauty, the curve, was substituted for the hideous 
famine angles. 

But the hunger had got too strong a hold on them 
to be dislodged by one meal, however good and large. 
So during the night the small sinners crept under the 
tatties into the hospital for adults, and stole the rations 
supplied to the patients. 

And yet when morning came each little maw was 
as ready as ever for food — ^maybe the more ready for 
the stolen sweets of the midnight meal, for in con- 
valescence most surely ' Vappetit vient par le mangeanV 


Scenes hy the Wayside, 

On a recent tour, I heard directly of not less than 30 deaths from 
starvationy in five or six villages. I also saw several in a starving 
condition, some of whom have since died. In one enclosure I saw a 


man, willing and strong to work, but, from hunger, lying upon his 
back, with arms and legs extended, apparently insensible. The empti- 
ness of the abdomen showed the cause of his trouble. A little 
distance from him lay his wife, in a half-conscious state, with an in£uit 
trying to extract nourishment Irom its mother's breast, and an older 
child lying a little way off, in the same condition as the mother. I 
have heard that the man died soon after. In the same village, the 
day before I was there, a young man climbed a tree in search of half 
grown fruit, became dizzy from weakness, fell, and was killed. 

I was told by three men, each of different caste, in another small 
village, who mentioned the names of deceased persons as they counted 
them over, that in four families of potters in that village, containing 
20 individuals, there had been nine deaths fr^m starvation. And that 
of 16 houses belonging to people of another caste, only six are now 
occupied, and that in these 7 persons had died from htmger. 

I was also told by the same men and another belonging to a little 
village near, that 11 of the 18 houses in this latter viUage are now 
empty, and that in the remaining 7, six have died from want of food. 

It is for the relief of persons thus situated that assistance is 

My duties as a missionary call me to go much among the people, 
bring their wants to my notice, and give me opportunities to help 
them had I the ability. 

The rains that have fallen have afforded relief to some, in some 
respects, already. They also give promise of future harvests. These 
however, from the lateness of the rain and other reasons, will be less 
abundant than in ordinary seasons. Till the time of harvest the 
price of grain must continue to be very high. — Bev. J. Hebbick, 

Extreme Wretchedness. 

Mr. Dawes, the deputy collector in charge of the Ootenghiri taluk, 
was one of the passengers, and I had much useful conversation with 
him. He took me to see a ' kitchen' near the Morapoor station, but 
a stream running across the road was so swollen, by the heavy rains 
that we could not reach it. A number of the people, however, 
gathered about us, and I have seen nothing in the camps near Madras 
to compare with their wretchedness. Small-pox has been very rife, 
and one poor woman by the wet road-side appeared to be dying of it. 
The emaciation of the sufferers was the more striking from their naked- 
ness, which, in many cases, was almost wholly uncovered. Mr. Dawes 
asked for clothes, seed grain, and bullocks. — F. Bowlandsok, Sept, 25. 


A Day's Work by cm Honorary Secretary, 

The work of dispensing aid as per your rules, enclosed in your 
letter of the 18th instant, has gone on well. The plan we here adopted 
is briefly as follows : — 

(1.) I personally pay out all funds and as fiu- as possible to the in- 
dividuals receiving the aid. Gosha women and sick persons of course 
have the aid sent to them by trustworthy friends. 

(2.) The other members of the committee examine and inquire 
into the needs of all applicants for relief except Christians, and those 
accepted are sent to me with a note giving some particulars, &c. 

(3.) From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. I receive all who have the notes of my 
colleagues, and take the liberty to inquire into any applications which 
may be made after those having the ' chits' are cared for. 

(4.) Ail members of the committee are bound by promise to exer- 
cise every precaution to keep out the unworthy, and each is personally 
responsible for all whom he may send. 

(5.) The amount which each applicant may receive is left entirely 
to me. 

Of course these brief rules are subject to alteration if found to be 
contrary to your wishes or undesirable. 

(6.) My accounts are subject to inspection by any member of the 
committee. I have up to this evening distributed 1,384 rs. to 352 
families. Consequently I have only 616 rs. now in my hands, and 
this will go off at the rate of 200 rs. or more per day. 

Poor ryots by scores, and others of every caste, creed, and profes- 
sion armed with * chits,' stating the urgency of their case, from the 
village munsif and kumam where they reside, from near and afar 
come here daily for aid. Each 'chit' generally tells a sad tale of bul- 
locks dead, house tumbled down or burnt up, seed grain required, or 
a widow and destitute children, or orphans, or of sickness and distress 
in the family of the bearer, whose whole demeanour shows that the 
letter is only too true. Thus come the wails from the villages day by 
day. Each member of the local committee has assured me that the 
importunities of the crowds about his house or office daily, for an order 
that they may get money to relieve their need or distress, is perfectly 
excrucicUing. Personally, it is not too much when I say that fre- 
quently 1,000 persons ai'e in or about my compound, each trying to 
get an opportunity to press his claim for aid. The rush is so great 
that I have to have a police constable and two or three trusty men 
constantly on duty to keep order. But I think I succeed pretty well 
in giving to the deserving and in getting rid of the drift. I first 


receive all applicants for aid Bent by my oolleagues on the committee ; 
(2) those sent by village munsifs and kumams; (3) those known 
to me personally or to some one of my trustworthy native assistants ; 
(4) all those sent by any responsible person, known to be such by any 
one of us ; (5) I then look over the company of other applicants and 
listen to what each has to say for himself ; of course in the case of 
many a look is enough. I have no idea that our plan is the best pos- 
sible, but it is the best I can think of, and it seems to work well. 
While we do not do all we should like to do, and while, no doubt, we 
are sometimes deceived, thousands are aided who otherwise would 
either soon be in sad distress or dead. — Kev. J. E. Clough, Ongole, 

Difficulties in DistribtUion. 

A few of the incidents that one meets with may be interesting as 
showing the condition and disposition of the people. In Bammeracherd 
we met a small farmer who had been very well off; he had spent a 
great deal of money in bupng fodder for his cattle ; but prolonged 
drought baffled his efforts to keep them alive ; he had lost every one, 
had no means to cultivate his land, he was badly off for clothing, his 
house had become quite desolate, his wife had died some days pre- 
vious to my visit ; and the poor man was thoroughly dispirited. I 
gave him a blanket and a little money for the purchase of seed grain. 
In other instances I have found that there was great need of careful 
enquiry in giving help. In one village I found two families, culti- 
vators, extremely poor, receiving the Government money dole. I 
asked if they had not sown their lands. The reply was that all their 
cattle were dead and they had no means whatever to sow their fields. 
I visited their houses and saw the empty stalls, and ploughs lying 
idle. It seemed a worthy case for help ; but on further enquiry 
where the fields were, the kind of soil, what seed they proposed to 
sow, &c.f 1 discovered that the nature of the soil was such that it was 
useless to sow it this season, as the cold weather crop would not grow 
in it ; and that it would be therefore quite useless at present to give 
any help for ploughing the land. 

In a neighbouring village to which this news had spread, I was 
met the same day by a number of farmers who pleaded for help, as 
they had no means to cultivate their land. One man in particular 
said he had 60 acres, and had not been able to cultivate a foot, he 
was so poor. I said I woidd go and see his land, and was then told 
by an on-looker that the man had let it, that it had been cultivated 
and the crops on it doing well. — Rev. E. Lewis, BeUary. 

VOL. II. I* 


Taluk Triumvirates, 

Gooty, October 2, 1877. 

I believe the following is an outline of the scheme we agreed on 
this morning. 

Operations to be entrusted to the * taluk triumvirates ' (as I may 
call them) composed in each case of (1) the taluk relief officer, (2) a 
selected native gentleman, and (3) myself. 

The names of the taluk officers and native members you are 
aware of. The forms of relief to be two, viz.: — 

1. The feeding of children in day nurseries. 

2. The relief by yioney pittances of persons who by reason of 

social position are deterred from accepting Government 
relief on works or in close camps, and yet are legitimate 
objects of charity. 
There will be no difficulty in deciding upon the claims of children, 
inasmuch as the mere fact of obvious need will be a sufficient qualifi- 

The task of selecting proper objects for the second kind of relief 
will be much more delicate and difficult. Our object will be to relicA-e 
the sufferings of persons who may reasonably be excused for persist- 
ence in shrinking from the tests of need which Government have 
imposed. — W. H. Glenny. 

An Audadoua Suggestion, 

At the Erode meeting it was proposed by some of the native 
gentlemen present that one of the committee's operations should be the 
lending of money at a low rate of interest to the more wealthy lyots, 
i.e., their own class, as they complain that they have to pay high rates 
now. I did not underatand that the loans were asked for with any 
idea of indirectly benefiting the population generally, but gathered 
that these gentlemen were seeking simply to enrich themselves from 
your fdnds. This incident throws some little light on the difficulties 
which attend the distribution of our funds in outlying places. — 


Suffering among Classes beyond Scope of Government Operations, 

For some months past the evidence of suffering in regard to the 
families of certain classes has been quite clear, and the scheme of 
Government out-door relief in cooked food, though meeting the 
necessities of the old and feeble, has not been brought home to the 


great bulk of the poor requiring food. It is well known that food is 
distributed daily at the Government feeding house and camps, one 
meal a day to from 12,000 to 16,000 persons; but although theee 
feeding dep6ts have been increased since February, so scattered is the 
area of the town that it is^ quite impossible for parents who may be 
in service and earning small wages to absent themselves and accom- 
pany their children to the feeding depots. The consequence is these 
children, in very large numbers, have suffered and are suffering from 
the usual consequences of chronic starvation, and unless means can be 
devised to supply the children of the industrious poor with food in 
excess of the means of the parents, many must die before food supplies 
return to their normal value. 

Some weeks ago, one of the very worst cases of starvation I have 
ever seen came under my notice, and on enquiry it turned out that 
the poor little victim was not a waif and stray from a famine village, 
but simply the child of the widow of a domestic servant, out of 
employ, who had been fighting the battle of life for years, almost 
within a stone's throw of my own residence. This child was simply 
a living skeleton, with every bone and * anatomical process ' distinctly 
marked, and so weak that she could not stand aJone. In this instance 
the effects of starvation were too far advanced to admit of remedy, 
but investigation showed that there were many others travelling 
along the same road to premature death, and who were not, and who 
could not be, reached by the Government scheme of reliaf. Recent 
inspection of the recipients of money dole from the town relief 
committee in Madras (the classes who aro ordinarily in no way 
depending on charity) convinces me that the food deficiency is affect- 
ing very seriously theJr condition, and that the young children of these 
classes must be helped with a liberal hand if we would preserve their 
lives for the benefit of the commonwealth. — Dr. Cornish. 

Horrors of the Famine, 

Allow me to add some incidents supplied by one member of the 
committee, the Bev. J. S. Chandler, of Battalagundu, who writes : — 
* On Friday, the 19th instant, a child died in my compound that had 
been picked up in the streets, after having been deserted by its mother 
for three days. On Saturday, the 27th instant, another child died 
from the same cause. On the morning of that day my school-boys 
found the body of a famine-stricken woman in the Battalagundu river. 
On the day previous, Catechist Anthony found a body in the Venka- 
dasthri Kottai rivei*, and had it buried. He reports having seen 
twenty-five or thirty bodies that had been brought down the river. 



On the 29th instant I overtook a starved weaver tottering along the 
road two miles from his home. He had a fresh wound on the top of 
his head produced by a recent fall. I placed him in my bandy and 
conveyed him home. 

* On the 21st instant, on visiting a hamlet, I was pained to see 
tliat all the children there were in a starving condition, yet none of 
them were beggars. 

* A few days later, the catechist above mentioned was sitting in a 
public place in a neighbouring hamlet, when a boy came along with a 
bunch of gi'eens to be cooked for the femily. As he was slowly passing 
by, he exclaimed, " My eyes are dim," and falling to the ground, died 
in a short time. 

* Recently the corpse of a woman was carried along the road slung 
to a pole like an animal, with the face partly devoured by dogs. The 
other day, a figunished craacy woman took a dead dog and ate it, near 
our bungalow.* 

This is not sensational writing. The half of the horrors of this 
famine have not, cannot, be told. Men do not care to reproduce in 
writing scenes which have made their blood run cold. Yet it is neces- 
sary, time and again, to allude to these sufferings, that people beyond 
our borders may know that the famine is still a dreadful reality. — 
W. YoRKE, Dindigul. 

Female Nakedneaa. 

I have been much struck by the absence amongst the famine sub- 
jects of that modesty which so generally prompts the native women 
to cover their breasts, and have been assured by more than one officer 
that it is the result of their intense misery. It is true one native 
gentleman on the Salem committee (himself I believe a Madrasee) 
told me that this modesty was not as habitual in the Salem district 
as in the neighbourhood of Madras ; but a district officer told me that 
in normal times the women always keep themselves covered unless 
when about the doors of their houses or at work in their own fields. 
Another consideration is that in SaJem the Government have been 
giving employment to the large weaver community, and have now in 
stock so enormous a quantity of cloths that it will be difficult to avoid 
the sale of them becoming, for a time at least, a Oovernment monopoly 
when trade in the commodity recovers its normal activity. Possibly 
some arrangement could be made by which the naked can be clothed 
and the danger threatening the weavers' trade be averted. — ^F. Bow- 



Insect Pests in the Fields, 

A great calamity has befallen a large tract of some 50 villages in 
the Perambalore taluk — a calamity greater than the famine. The 
ravages of locusts was something fearful — there was not a grain of 
cholum, cumboo, or varagu left on the stalk. My road was crossed 
by swarms of these, and the road was actually covered by them 100 
yards before me. The young ones hop their march while the winged 
ones lead the army. When they alight on fields, the young ones 
stick to the root and cut the stalk down, while the bigger ones take 
their position on the ears and eat away the grain. You see a field 
after their devastation — ^the sight is most melancholy — as if a row of 
sticks were stuck in the ground ; no blade, no ears, and no freshness 
in the plant, as if their vitality had departed from them. One ryot 
determining to cut his ci-op, gi'een as it was, to save at least some of 
it, had collected labourers to do so the next morning; but to his 
amazement, the whole had been eaten up during the night ; and the 
locusts stuck to him in such numbers as threatened to eat him up 
alive. — Member of Trichinopoly Committee, 

The Patience of the People, 

"My immediate object in writing to you is to warn you that appli- 
cations hitherto made for relieving distress in this district do not 
represent anything like even a tenth part of what we want. I believe 
the acting collector's committee applied to Madras for 1,000 rs., and 
perhaps you have sent one or two more thousands to the district. 
Now, in one taluk aJone there are upwards of 5,000 ryots, holding 
puttahs of 10 rs. and under, whose crops have failed. Supposing, 
then, we give these men 10 rs. a head, that will represent 50,000 rs. 
I know this district well, and, as you know, I can converse with the 
people in Tamil, and I tell you that everywhere in the uplands of this 
district there is a very great mortality among their cattle used for 
ploughing, and a very general inability among the people to pi*ovide 
themselves with new bullocks or to buy seed. There are also many 
cultivators who have never been and who never will go to a relief house, 
and who would rather die at home than leave their villages and seek 
Government gratuitous relief. These men are simply pining away 
slowly, and to make proper use of the funds at our disposal it is 
necessary that those persons should be sought out in their own homes 
and relief given them then and there in the shape of a small money 
donation. In truth, the closer you look into matters, and the better 
you know the people, the more you see how fearfully widely spread is 


the present distress, borne by the poor creatures in dumb resignation 
to fate, and with scarcely a murmur. I dare say you have received 
reports of the cultivation prospects of the coming year, in their general 
tenor very favourable. I advise you to distrust them. It is quite 
true that at the commencement of the cultivation season a veiy great 
deal of land was ploughed and sown, and it was then, as of course 
you know, that the kumum's accounts were drawn up and sent 
on through the taluk to the collector's office ; but as far as I can 
ascertain, no account has been taken of the subsequent loss by drought, 
and in my wanderings about the villages I should say in this neigh- 
bourhood half the dry land is still lying waste, as the crop planted in 
July failed for want of rain later on, and then mortality among the 
cattle and poverty among the people prevented a second sowing of 
crops. — E. FoRSTER Webster, Trickinopohj. 

Disappointments; Gratitude, 

The first sowing, after the rains came in September, very generally 
rotted ; the second sowing, as soon as the young plants were above 
ground, has generally been devoured by the grasshoppers. Ryots 
during the past few days and now are trying to sow again, but the 
poorer ones are sorely pressed for seed, I assure you. Every hour of 
the day, yes, every half-hour, and fi'equently much oftener, I receive 
* chits ' from some one of my colleagues travelling in the district, or 
from Government munsifs, which read like this — * The bearer of 

this chit is a ryot living in the village of . Before the &mine 

he was well-to-do, but three of his four bullocks are dead. He culti- 
vates acres of ground. He sowed one half of jowalee and the 

seed rotted. He sowed it again, and the grasshoppers ate up the 
plants as soon as out of the ground. He has no means to purchase 
seed grain, and no one will sell to him on credit. His family is also 
suffering for want of proper food. Please help him all you can,' &c. 
Or another chit reads thus — ' The bearer of this note is a widow who 

resides at . Her husband died of cholera some months ago. 

She has a little land and two bu£&loes are yet aJive. If she can get 
a little seed grain she hopes to get some of her neighbours to sow a 
small piece of her ground at least. She is very poor; has four 
children, and two of them are sick. They all need cloths badly. 
Please do for this poor woman all you can,' &c. 

These are not fancy sketches, but like applications, either by letter 
or in person, are dozens every day. As I give 3 rs. or 5 rs. or so to 
such as described above and tell them, * This is charity given by 
kind-hearted generous Englishmen to you who are suffering and 


starving. Take it and try /or another crop with all your might, that 
you and your little ones may live and not die,' I should like you and 
your friends in England to see the expression of thankfulness and 
gratitude upon their dark, careworn, haggard faces. A chord had 
been stnick probably never touched before. 

I hope you will send me a large donation this time. I now 
frequently sit to receive applicants from 7 a.m. until* 4 p.m., with a 
recess of twenty minutes for breakfast only. 10,000 rs. put out 
here just now woidd (D.V.) do a grand work for this section, the 
beneficial effects of which would last through a generation. My col- 
leagues are helping with a will that does them all great credit. 
Government munsifs from near and afar are begging for the 
privilege of sending in people for aid. As funds at my disposal here- 
tofore were limited, of course T have had to go slowly. I can now 
distribute, if health continues, and put it just where it ought to go (a 
few exceptions no doubt) 1,000 i-s. per day, five days per week. 
Please ask the committee to give us here this time 5,000 rs. at least if 
possible. We should like 10,000 rs. to meet the emergencies described, 
above, but don't want to appear selfish. I am keeping the name 
of each individual, caste, age, viUage, taluk, district, amount given and 
why. — J. E. Olough, Ongole. 


Children and even infants in arms have had relief put into their 
little hands by me, one rupee, half a rupee, or a quarter of a rupee, all 
in silver, as each case needed — the parents in the same family being 
separately provided for with larger sums. In making this distribu- 
tion I told the parents they would see from this that their emaciated 
little children too were cared for by the ladies and gentlemen and 
even the children of England ; school childi*en, too, of England having 
contributed to the bounty. In every case the money has been paid 
by me direct to every individual, old as well as young. 

On the part of the recipients of the bounty, the most heartfelt 
expressions of gratitude have been addressed to me, and every pos- 
sible outward token, indicative of the inward feeling, exhibited, 
both by Hindu and by Mussulman, by male as well as by female. I 
give here some of these grateful tokens exhibited after receiving the 
relief, because these are genuine expressions, deliberate dictates of the 
heart ; expressions of respect, &c., before receiving relief, I consider 
mostly perfunctory and commonplace ; these I do not mention. Com- 
plete prostration of the person ; bowing the head almost to the 
ground ; kneeling down, clasping both hands before the chest and 


the present distress, borne by the poor creatures in dumb resignation 
to fete, and with scarcely a murmur. I dare say you have received 
reports of the cultivation prospects of the coming year, in their general 
tenor very favourable. I advise you to distrust them. It is quite 
true that at the commencement of the cultivation season a very great 
deal of land was ploughed and sown, and it was then, as of course 
you know, that the kumum's accounts were drawn up and sent 
on through the taluk to the collector's office ; but as far as I can 
ascertain, no account has been taken of the subsequent loss by drought, 
and in my wanderings about the villages I should say in this neigh- 
bourhood half the dry land is still lying waste, as the crop planted in 
July failed for want of rain later on, and then mortality among the 
cattle and poverty among the people prevented a second sowing of 
crops. — E. FoRSTER Webster, Trichiriopoly, 

DisappowUments ; Gratitude. 

The first sowing, after the rains came in September, very generally 
rotted ; the second sowing, as soon as the young plants were above 
ground, has generally been devoured by the grasshoppers. Ryots 
during the past few days and now are trying to sow again, but the 
poorer ones are sorely pressed for seed, I assure you. Every hour of 
the day, yes, every half-hour, and fi-equently much oftener, I receive 
* chits ' from some one of my colleagues travelling in the district, or 
from Government munsifs, which read like this — * The bearer of 

this chit is a ryot living in the village of . Before the femine 

he was well-to-do, but three of his four bullocks are dead. He culti- 
vates acres of ground. He sowed one half of jowalee and the 

seed rotted. He sowed it again, and the grasshoppers ate up the 
plants as soon as out of the ground. He has no means to purchase 
seed grain, and no one will sell to him on credit. His family is also 
suffering for want of proper food. Please help him all you can,' &c. 
Or another chit reads thus — ' The bearer of this note is a widow who 

resides at . Her husband died of cholera some months ago. 

She has a little land and two buffiJoes are yet alive. If she can get 
a little seed grain she hopes to get some of her neighbours to sow a 
small piece of her ground at least. She is very poor; has four 
children, and two of them are sick. They all need cloths badly. 
Please do for this poor woman all you can,' &c. 

These are not fency sketches, but like applications, either by letter 
or in person, are dozens every day. As I give 3 rs. or 6 rs. or so to 
such as described above and tell them, ' This is charity given hy 
kind-hearted generous Englishmen to you who are svffering and 


starving. Take it and try /or a/nother crop with aU your might, that 
you and your little ones may Uvs and not die, I should like you and 
your friends in England to see the expression of thankfulness and 
gratitude upon their dark, careworn, haggard feces. A chord had 
been struck probably never touched before. 

I hope you will send me a large donation this time. I now 
frequently sit to receive applicants from 7 a.m. until* 4 p.m., with a 
recess of twenty minutes for breakfast only. 10,000 rs. put out 
here just now woidd (D.V.) do a grand work for this section, the 
beneficial effects of which would last through a generation. My col- 
leagues are helping with a will that does them all great credit. 
Government munsifs from near and afar are begging for the 
privilege of sending in people for aid. As funds at my disposal hei*e- 
tofore were limited, of course T have had to go slowly. I can now 
distribute, if health continues, and put it just where it ought to go (a 
few exceptions no doubt) 1,000 rs. per day, five days per week. 
Please ask the committee to give us hei^e this time 5,000 rs. at least if 
possiMe. We should like 10,000 rs. to meet the emergencies described- 
above, but don't want to appear selfish. I am keeping the nam^ 
of each individual, caste ^ age, village, taluk, district, amount given a/nd 
why. — J. E. Olouoh, Ongole. 


Children and even infants in arms have had relief put into their 
little hands by me, one rupee, half a rupee, or a quaiiier of a rupee, all 
in silver, as each case needed — the parents in the same family being 
separately provided for with larger sums. In making this distribu- 
tion I told the parents they would see from this that their emaciated 
little children too were cared for by the ladies and gentlemen and 
even the children of England ; school children, too, of England having 
contributed to the bounty. In every case the money has been paid 
by me direct to every individual, old as well as young. 

On the part of the recipients of the bounty, the most heartfelt 
expressions of gratitude have been addressed to me, and every pos- 
sible outward token, indicative of the inward feeling, exhibited, 
both by Hindu and by Mussulman, by male as well as by female. I 
give here some of these grateful tokens exhibited ajler receiving the 
relief, because these are genuine expressions, deliberate dictates of the 
heart ; expressions of respect, &c., before receiving relief, I consider 
mostly perfunctory and commonplace ; these I do not mention. Com- 
plete pi-ostration of the person ; bowing the head almost to the 
ground ; kneeling down, clasping both hands before the chest and 


throwing them over the head, and salaming from the foot to the head 
over and over again ; throwing themselves at my feet unexpectedly — 
this I always restrain when I see it coming, but it has been difficult to 
do so. There have been more touching tokens also in the grateful tears 
of Hindu and Mussulman widows who may have handled rupees when 
their departed husbands received pay, but who have not had that 
gratification I know not for how many years — ten, fifteen, twenty, 
thirty — ^and in all probability never expected that gratification again 
in this world. When such as these actually held in their hands hard, 
shining, full rupees (the Treasury had fortunately supplied me with 
many new * Empress ' rupees) two, three, four, or more which they 
could call their own, for themselves and starving children, it was but 
natural that they should ever and anon open the palm, take a glance 
of the money, then close the palm as if sure of the money, and after a 
while repeat the process of taking another glance, all the while their 
and their children's names, <&c., were being entered in the register. 
These in particular i-etired with fervent protestations about lighting 
especial lamps in their homes in honour of the kind donors, and pray- 
ing the Almighty to bless the donors and their offspring. 

Some poor creatures declared they had been living on greens, and 
they quite looked it, and now, they said, they would get a little meat 
or fish. Some old women between sixty and seventy had longed for 
a little mittoy, a luxury they enjoyed in better days, which days had 
now so long passed away, and now, for once — they would treat them- 
selves to some and gratify their longings. (This reminded me of the 
patriarch Isaac.) Such and similar were the outpourings of heart 
on the part of these poor creatures in the comparative seclusion of my 
verandah where they received the money. It so happens that I can 
speak Hindustani as well as Tamil. 

When thanks, loud and repeated, were expressed to me with pro- 
fessions of my being their visible Sami — a notion which of course I 
instantly checked — I have told them, using an Oriental illustration 
which would be well understood by them, that they (the famine- 
stricken people) were the dry fields and dry garden-beds perishing for 
want of irrigation ; that the ladies and gentlemen of England were the 
grand lake or large tank which contained the water supply. It was 
to them that, under Qod, the thanks were due, and not to me who was 
a mere channel, and nothing more, through which the precious liquid 

This always led to a fresh outburst of hearty good wishes ; that 
the British nation might flourish for generations to come, and the 
British flag wave over the land for hundreds and hundreds of years. 
— 7%e Bev. T. P. Adolphus, Trichvnopoly. 


Extortion hy ViUage OfficidU. 

Extortion by village officers of portions of doles given to the poor 
has been very general [in this sub-division]. In only one case did 
there seem sufficient evidence to make prosecution advisable. In that 
case the defendant (a village headman) was sentenced to six months' 
rigorous impiisonment, and a fine of 50 rs. or four months more. 
The difficulties of getting convictions in such cases were strikingly 
illustrated in this one. In the first place the detection was quite 
accidentally made by the European officer himself. And the conviction 
took place in the face of the refusal by the principal witness to give 
evidence. Fortunately the officer had on the spot caused this witness's 
complaint to be recorded. The defendant's &ther actually, by bribing 
a Government peon, detained the witness on the way to court and 
delayed the trial for a week, and but for very energetic personal exer- 
tions by the famine officer would doubtless have spirited the witness 
away altogether. — W. H. Glenny, Gooty, 

Dislike to Relief Camps, 

I heard of men and women being harnessed to their ploughs in 
place of their lost bullocks, and of other poor agriculturists, who not 
having even ploughs, were seen dragging large branches of trees over 
their little plots of land. The recent excellent fall of rain has brought 
up all over the country a weed with a bulbous root, which although 
in ordinary years it is only used in small quantities, owing to its un- 
wholesomeness, is now being eaten largely by the poor, forming the 
staple of the only diet they can procure outside of the Government 
closed camps, which appear to be as much disliked as is the ' work- 
house ' by the respectable poor at home.— F. Bowlandson. 

The Goodness of the Poor towards each other, 

A great deal too much is said about the readiness of the poor to 
sponge on the bounty of Government, or of private charity. Half of 
the tales on this subject are untrue and the other half garbled or 
exaggerated. Exceptional cases have been known, but the general 
experience of the Teynampett nursery, and I imagine of others, is, 
that mothers, aunts, grandmothers, or neighbours will bring children 
up to be fed, and, though in want themselves, never express by word 
or sign a desire to share in the help they know is meant only for 
young children. Big boys will bring little boys, and, though lank 
and hungry, and casting longing eyes on the food, are only intent on 


seeing their charges get their allotted ration. For six weeks past a 
little girl of ten or eleven has been bringing up two sickly children 
twice a day, nursing them with the tenderest care and never asking 
for bite or sip on her own account. She showed no signs of starvation 
until the last few days, when I noticed that she was beginning to go 
down, and I have asked the lady in charge of the nursery to bring her 
on the list of those to whom one good meal a day may mean the salva- 
tion of life. — Dr. Oobnish. 

Practical Help, 

I would venture to make a suggestion on one point in which 
private charity could in the interior of the district be employed with 
the utmost advantage, and afford relief which (though urgently re- 
quired) cannot be given by Government. Many hundreds of cases of 
poor ryots have come to my notice whom this famine has reduced to 
absolute destitution. They have lost their cattle, sold or mortgaged 
their lands and their little personal property. Hitherto they have 
managed to live by working on roads, but when ordinary times return 
and works are closed, they will have simply nothing to face the world 
with, and their condition in fact will be worse when the famine is 
over. For such as these (and they are painfully numerous) Govern- 
ment can do nothing beyond having kept them alive hitherto by pro- 
viding work and by keeping them alive till the end of the £unine. 
But private charity could do a great deal of real good by making 
small grants to such persons, and by enabling them again to start in 
life when the present hard times are over. 

I can imagine no better object for private charity than this, and I 
would earnestly bring it to the notice of the committee. There are, 
of course, many other excellent and legitimate objects to which private 
charity can be devoted. But if the committee's funds are limited, far 
more good will be done in the interior of the district by devoting as 
much money as possible to one comprehensive and useful measure, 
than by dividing it among many schemes however beneficial in them- 
selves. — W. A. Howe, Divisional Oficer. 

Personal Investigation of Belief Lists, 

On the whole I am of opinion from what I have seen that the best 
way of doing the most good with this money in this estate, where there 
is such a dead level of poverty in all the villages, with all castes and 
classes, is not so much by giving large sums to a few persons, as dmall 
amoimts to a great many, to enable them to get their lands already 
sown weeded, or to re-thatch their houses, which are roofless, or to 


have a small sum in hand to maintain themselves till January. My 
procedure is very simple. I know the general state of each village as 
well as anybody else. I select as many of the worst as possible with 
reference to the amount allotted, making no distinction whether they 
are owned by the zemindar or by private persons. The headmen are 
directed to prepare a list of persons deserving and wishing to receive 
a small assistance, and not holding more land than five kalems of seed 
land and ten gurukoms of dry land, or possessing more than one 
bullock. This list is submitted to the tahsildar, and when the day is 
fixed, the ryots come up for distribution. A few questions are asked 
on each case, and sometimes it happens that a kumam has included 
all his own friends and servants and excluded the others. When the 
list is gone through, I ask to see the remainder of the villagers, who 
have come up to watch proceedings ; and some of these I select on 
personal enquiry. In fact I believe that I have got some of the most 
deserving cases in this way. Ab the ryots must often come with some 
of their family, each ryot is asked to bring up his own people with 
him ; and in this way I have seen a vaat number of families in a more 
thorough manner than I could have done at any other period of the 
last eight months. The majority of the women and girls of the lower 
castes, and indeed some of the Sudras as well, seem to be barely 
covered with decency ; and I should be glad to have more to give 
away in cloths ; but I quite see that there is great danger in this of 
the same women following from camp to camp ; and getting a double 
or treble share. — J. Leb Warner, Bamnad, 

Th^ InadeqiLacy of Fwnda, 

The population of the taJuk is 320,723, of which 12,818, or close 
upon four per cent., are in the town of Dindigul, and 3,753 are in the 
hill villages where no relief is required. The remaining 304,152 are 
distributed in 204 villages in the taluk. Now, reserving 1,000 rs. 
to be spent in the town of Dindigul, we have 7,000 rs. for each of the 
months of November and December to be spent in the taluk, being 
23 rs. per 1,000 inhabitants, and for October and January, only half 
that amount. We are already learning how difficult a thing it is to 
take 23 rs. into a village containing 1,000 inhabitants and render 
efficient aid to the distressed there. It is only sufficient to aid about 
five cultivators out of the 1,000 inhabitants. What ai-e these rupees 
among the many people who have been plunged in povei-ty by the 
severity of the famine % The same sum will re-roof four or five houses 
only in a village of about 330 houses, leaving nothing for other cases 
of distress. The donations appear generous when we speak of the 


Inmp sums, but when we examine the distribntion in detail, we then 
realise how very little it will do to mitigate the general distress. 
From one village of 1,000 inhabitants, weU-authenticated petitions 
for 105 rs. were presented in one day. We were able to send them 
23 rs. as their proportion for the month of November. Such illustra- 
tions might be multiplied to any extent. From all sides the repre- 
sentation of the distributor is that the grants we allow are nothing 
like adequate to meet the distress. I write thus, not with a desire on 
the part of this committee, or of myself, to complain of the allotment 
made by the general committee to us, but to repi*e6ent the actual 
facts, and to express the hope that the general committee will be in 
a position to give us additional aid for January and February. — W. 
YoRKE, bindigvl. 

My grants to individuals have been almost ridiculously small ; but 
the general poverty of all classes on this large estate is so great that 
there is no other course open. I will give an instance. At a place 
called Karencottai I held a distribution taking in 20 odd villages 
which have been much afflicted by the famine. When the money 
was nearly all exhausted, there remained a great number of applicants 
whose names had not been included in the prepared lists. AH these 
persons held out their puttahs, pleading most lustily for help. Their 
appearance gave unmistakable signs of long privation. When I ex- 
plained to them that the money is a free gift and that it cannot be 
made to go farther than it does, the whole chorus shouted that they 
might at least have a rupee apiece, and return to their villages. Even 
this I was unable to do for them. Numbers are beginning to return 
to their homes from Ceylon, many of them dreadfully emaciated. 
Their story is always the same. They went over in the summer 
months to escape starvation. The planters took advantage of the 
numbers to lower their rates for labour ; and hundreds only obtained 
one meal a day, and are now returning with nothing saved and a 
blank future before them, unless they can get assistance. — J. Lee 

A Lively Sense of Gratitude. 

Both in Coimbatore and Salem fine rain has fallen, and much land 
has been ali-eady brought under cultivation, but I am sorry to sjiy 
that a large number of puttadars (ryots) are still present in relief 
camps, having lost their bullocks, their implements, and everything 
they possessed (including their health and ability to work). 

The present season, so far, is the most favourable that has been 
known for years past, and with small advances to the poorer lyots to 
buy seed grain, or a pair of bullocks and a plough, an immense 


amount of good might be done. Whatever the committee may see fit 
to allot to district committees with the object of helping the poor 
but respectable ryots should be given without delay, for it is essential 
in these dry districts that the ploughing and sowing should be done 
before the setting in of the north-east monsoon. 

I was present yesterday at Sunkerrydroog when Mr. Longley, the 
collector of the district, enquired into the circumstances of a lyot. 

The man attracted my attention, amongst thousands of starving 
creatures, by his extreme emaciation. He holds a puttah of land, for 
which he pays ten rupees a year. A poi-tion of this land he managed 
to plough and sow with the help of his friends. His own bullocks 
died in the hot weather. He has had no food or means of support for 
months past, and applied at the camp for relief, simply to keep life in 
his body. This poor fellow was so attenuated that the circumference 
of his arm in the thickest portion measured only four and a half 
inches, and his thigh in the middle nine inches, and, although a well- 
built and tall man, measured only 25 inches round the chest. His 
present condition is such as to render him physically imfit for any 
exertion. Mr. Longley told him he should have an advance of 15 rs. 
to buy seed and bullocks, and the man was quite happy and ready to 
go back to his own village, though literally at death's door from long 
starvation. I saw another case this morning of a man who pays 30 
rs. a year to Government — who has lost wife, children, bullocks, and 
everything that constitutes a native's enjoyment of life, but who is in 
better health and strength for work, and who will be helped by an 

There are thousands of cases of this description in Coimbatore and 
Salem. The Government officials have been already overwhelmed 
with applications for advances from respectable landholders, and after 
discussing the matter carefully with the officials in Coimbatore and 
Salem, I can only come to the conclusion that the bountiful private 
charity of our fellow-countrymen cannot be better bestowed than in 
helping the class of small landholders to set themselves up again in 
the implements and accessories of a husbandman's career. No time 
should be lost in the allotment of grants for this piu-pose if the com- 
mittee are satisfied that the object is one coming within the sphere of 
relief contemplated by them. 

The class of persons to whom this relief is applicable are well 
known to native and European officials. They are the tillers of the 
soil, and non-migratory in their habits. Kelief can be apportioned 
without the slightest difficulty to the necessities of each case. — Db. 


Absurd 'Scares J 

In anticipation of the approval of the committee, I am authoris- 
ing my colleagues to grant estimated cost of cultivation to ryots paying 
less than 20 rs. of annual land assessment whose kharif crops have 
been entirely destroyed by the recent excess of moisture. The marked 
fall in temperature indicates that the rain has at last ceased. We can 
now see what amount of irreparable damage has been done. Whole 
fields of kharif crops— cholum and cumboo — have been utterly 
destroyed : some half harvested, some untouched by the sickle, but 
which were almost ripe for it ten days or a foi-tnight ago. 

I submit that no class are more legitimate objects of assistance 
than these poor people who, after seeing their crops safely through the 
perilous days of July and August, and giving promise of a bounteous 
harvest, have at the last moment been disappointed of the fruit of 
their enterprise and industry. 

There can be no doubt or deception in these cases. Nor can there 
be any suspicion or fear on the part of the recipients. I should think 
that gifts of this kind may perhaps at least force upon the ryots the 
conception that these grants of money do not come from Government, 
but from the English people. Hitherto, in the majority of cases the 
donees have received with manifest incredulity our assurance that 
* the Sircar ' has nothing to do with the matter. In one instance a 
number of people who had actually ploughed their lands declined at 
the last moment to receive the money from Captain Hopkins. They 
admitted that they suspected some new device to screw revenue out 
of them. Another scare remains at this moment : doubtless it will 
shortly be overcome by a little management. The Qoondacul nursery 
is empty, owing to an idea that the nurseries are intended as traps in 
which to catch children to be carried away to Madras or across the sea 
to be christianised. On October 1 ten thousand people on our works 
deserted to a man simply because of a rumour originating in the idle 
chatter of a subordinate, that all the coolies were to be carried off to 
forced labour in the Nilgiris. I mention these occurrences to illustrate 
the necessity of cautious dealings with this population in the present 
matter.— W. H. Glenny. 

Unselfish Children, 

There were 943 children, some of whom were quite, and many 

nearly, naked. 

Probably they would be equally so in normal times at their own 
homes, but then in the wet and cold they can get warm shelter, and 


need not leave it for their food. But in the camp it is necessary to 
collect all the inmates in pens for feeding, and there is no shelter from 
the wind and rain, either as they make their way across the wide spaces 
between the sheds, or as they sit on the wet ground. I went down 
the rows and selected 187 children to whom the sub-committee will 
give cloths. 

I was struck by the goodness of the elder children to their orphaned 
little brothers and sisters. I noticed, as they flocked in, two or three 
lads staggering along under the weight of a chubby little one, re- 
minding one of * Sloppy * and * The Minders.* As I went down the 
row I found a small damsel with her portion untasted before her. On 
questioning her I found she was a caste girl, and could not eat until 
she had first performed her ablutions. She could not have been more 
than seven years old, and looked a healthy child and likely to have a 
good appetite. — ^F. Eowlandson. 

A Selfish Reason. 

As we were leaving the village they brought forward a boy of about 
14, and told me he had wet land but no means of cultivating it, as his 
elder brother had sold off everything and gone away. I asked how many 
bullocks they had in the village, and was told 22 pairs 1 I then asked 
the richest man in the village if he would help the boy with the loan 
of some bullocks, but he entirely refused. I leamt subsequently at 
the committee meeting that owners of cattle here will neither lend 
nor hire them to landowners who have none. * Of course not,' was the 
remark ; ' if they can prevent the others from cultivating they will get 
80 much the better price for their grains.' — F. Rowlakdson. 

Typical Ca^es of Distress, 

Case I. — ^Narasami, widow of Eaghavachari, aged 38, Vishnava 
Brahmin, has dependent on her (1) son Kistnadu, aged 12 years, (2) 
son Copaludu, aged 10, (3) son Samadi, aged 8, (4) daughter See- 
tamma, aged 5, (5) daughter Alamelu, aged 12 months, and (6) 
Seshamma, her sister, aged 40. Her husband died two months ago. 
He was up to his death pusari (priest) of the Vishnu temple, for 
which he got 5 rs. per mensem. The widow has a dilapidated house, 
and half a cawnie of land, which cannot be cultivated, as she has no 
male relation or cattle. She cannot, according to her caste rules, 
leave her house for twelve months after the death of her husband. 

Case II, — Nagamma, widow of Subba Eow, aged 36, Brahmin. 
She has a father-in-law, Ghedambari Bow, aged 75, and blind. Six 


months ago he went to Tripatti to borrow money on land already 
mortgaged, but she has not heard of him since. She herself has no 
land. She lives in her own house, which is mortgaged. Her hus- 
band's grandfather was tahsildar of Chittoor. She has one brother, 
who gets his living by begging, and who occasionally helps her. 

Case II L — Ghengamma, widow of Siddappa, aged 42, Karamala 
caste ; has one son Annasami, aged 6. Has no property or house to 
live in ; lives in a chuttrom ; is reduced to weakness by the famine. 
She had village relief dole, but this had been discontinued by Grovem- 
ment ; she wiU not go to the relief camp on account of caste pre- 

Case IV, — Lutchami, widow of Eama Keddi, aged 28, Beddi 
caste. Her husband died five days ago ; has a son Thalwa, aged 6. Has 
now neither land nor house ; all were sold owing to the famine. 

Case V, — Sayamma, widow of Chunga Heddi, aged 52, Beddi 
caste. Lives in the house of another, having no property of any 
kind. She looks weak, did work on the roads, but is now unable ; 
her feet are swelling. 

Case VL — Ghengamma, widow of Subbamma, aged 80, Pariah. 
Has no one to support her, has no property, will not go to the relief 
camp, as she thinks * there is no one to feel for her.' — Hev, J. M. 
Strachan, M.D. 

^Real^ Charity hy the Taluk Triumvirate, 

We are much in want of more hands, but perforce have to do 
without them. There are no non-official Europeans in the division. 
Among the mercantile community theoe may be fit persons, but we 
do not know of any. The agriculturists, with whom we have constant 
intercourse, have many excellent qualities, and are, under noimal 
circumstances, honest enough. But recently we have had, in the way 
of our public business, conclusive proof that it is unwise to subject 
their temptation-resisting power to too severe a strain. Be it under- 
stood that our native colleagues are altogether exceptional men. Any 
one of them is a richer man than any of his European colleagues ever 
will be. This, however, is a minor matter. AU three are men of un- 
blemished character and eminently charitable dispositions. Jutur 
Subba Baddy's reputation is local, but the fame of the good works of 
Sanjiva Beddy of Joharapuram and Nigi Beddy of Groondacul has, I 
believe, reached England. The munificence of these gentlemen, be it 
observed, has manifested itself in deeds quite different from the ex- 
tremely ' other-worldly ' performances which form the staple Indian 
variety of 'charity.' These gentlemen have actually spent their 


monej in feeding the hungry — the clean and the unclean : a thing 
that no Hindu ever did pour f aire son salut, — W. H. Glknny. 

Evil of Indiscriminate Charity. 

Spending money is a simple matter. For instance — let it be 
known in a village that a charitable gentleman will present a cloth to 
every old woman who approcushes the presence with a plentiful lack 
of raiment. The rustic murmur will spontaneously spread abroad ; 
and everywhere he halts the charitable gentleman will not only have 
opportunity of attiring files upon files of ancient dames, but his ex- 
penditure will be assisted by a rise in the local cloth-market of any- 
thing from five-and-twenty per cent, upwards. If the evil effects of 
unthinking and short-sighted benevolence were confined to the con- 
genial sphere of the elderly female portion of the community, one 
would let it pass without serious criticism. But the af&iir assumes a 
darker complexion when it is a question of sapping the self-reliant 
and industrious character of a valuable population, and holding out 
rewards for success in deception. 

We wish that our leisure had been greater, so that we might 
have done more. But we humbly claim for our work the modest 
merit of careful execution. No doubt, with all our care, we have 
occasionally been egregiously imposed upon. With less care there 
would have been more imposture. 

Every case was separately enquired into, by the light of the best 
information available, and every rupee delivered, with all circum- 
stances of publicity, into the hands of the grantee, by or in presence 
of a European officer, and each case is recorded in detail. I speak 
chiefly of * agricultural cases ;' there was no analogous need for details 
in giving people cloths, for instance. Doles and donations ' in sup- 
port of life ' were not granted without very thorough investigation. 
Grants of money for cost of cultivation were, as far as time allowed, 
followed as well as preceded by enquiry ; with the result that in some 
cases it was discovered that the money had been obtained by false 
pretences. The mendacious recipients were in such event called upon 
to disgorge: which they invariably did, through fear of unknown 
consequences. One poor fellow of his own motion came from some 
distance and delivered up his grant, saying that he had changed his 
mind about ctdtivating. He was probably afterwards ascertained to 
be a fit subject for a donation * in support of life.' — ^W. H. Glenny. 



Scene in a Relief Camp, 

This morning I visited the relief camp of Chittoor, Formerly 
there were in it over 3,000, now about 1,000. The situation of the 
camp is most picturesque ; not far from a beautiful tank, which re- 
minds one of a miniature Scotch loch, it is surrounded by hills, whose 
crags and grassy crevices looked beautiful in the L'ght of the early 
sun. Not far from the entrance is a graveyard full of nameless 
graves ; and on enquiry I found it was the convicts' graveyard ; this 
time last year there were not many graves in it, but about last 
Christmas cholera came and the yard was filled. I went carefully 
through each line of the inmates of the relief camp, and I can bear 
witness to the fact that the able-bodied have been weeded out. I saw 
very few indeed that did not bear the unmistakable stamp of starva- 
tion. A group might easily have been formed as ghastly as any that 
have been photographed. Their ' bones speak ' as the natives expres- 
sively say. About 50 cloths were given away, and many of the 
recipients fell down on their £ftces and touched our shoes in token of 
their gratitude. I visited the hospital and found it clean, but very 
damp owing to the heavy rains. There were the usual cases of 
starvation-diarrhoea. In the women's ward we came to a fair young 
girl, covered nicely in her cumbly, her hand under her head, apparently 
sleeping comfortably, but on trying to feel her pulse, I found her 
dead. In the men's ward, a well-built young man was found in 
extremisj his eyes sunk, his cheeks drawn, the slow, laboured heaving 
of his chest, all showing that the end was not far off. A stimulant 
was administered, but he was beyond the reach of remedy, beyond 
hope. In passing through the lines of the women, I saw one with a 
baby, and asked to see it ; its skinny form was nestled to its mother's 
breast ; I told her it was dead ; and then she gave a look of suffering 
that went through one's heart, and burst out into a wail that told a 
mother's suffering at the loss of her last, her only, child. I saw 
also three other bodies — that of a young man, a young woman, a 
young girl, who had died during the night. The young woman's 
mouth was wide open and hei* eyes were dreadfully staring, as if 
Graving in death for food. Afber visiting the camp, I went and saw 
about 500 ryots who had come in from the villages for seed grain, all 
of them wUling to cultivate and yet obliged to stand idle. — Kev. J. 
M. Strachan. 


From, Drought to Deluge, 

Camp Kamuthi, December 16, 1877. 
I am more cheerful to-day, and therefore think it the best oppor- 
tunity to write to you again what has happened in this part of the 
estate. There was an unusual fall of rain all the night of the Gth, 
and in consequence all the rivers were in high flood. Suddenly and 
simultaneously almost, a great many tank bunds in this and the 
neighbouring estate of Sivagunga gave way : and all these waters, 
taking the direction of the sea-level, were poured upon the Kamuthi 
taluk, and the Yl^I, which takes its coiu-se through the Eamnad 
taluk. All the tanks of these two taluks had already received an 
abundant supply, and the ragi harvest was almost ripe, and the ryots 
were cheerfully looking forward to the termination of last year's 
sufferings in the cutting of the crop, some of which would support 
them, while the sale of the remainder would enable them to buy fresh 
paddy seed for the second crop, or bullocks if they had already got 
seed, or to clear their debts. In one day all the standing water, and 
the works which held it in, were swept away, and in some places the 
crops lost or materially damaged. This is not all, unfortunately. At 
Tomchali and Kamuthi, two largQ villages, and one of them almost a 
town, the floods passed over the towns, and in many cases, besides 
throwing the houses down, swept everything out of them. The 
people were already in a miserable condition enough ; and now many 
of them are turned out into the open. In Kamuthi, where I am 
now writing, having got here after the greatest difficulties, 379 houses, 
including 65 terraced and well-built houses, have been knocked to 
pieces. In the hamlets round it 200 more houses have been swept 
away, and from this place down to the sea every village has its tale of 
distress. The loss of human lives is not very great so far as I can 
ascertain, but all the cattle which were grazing on the open fields (the 
whole country is a plain down to the sea for 25 miles) seem to have 
been swept before the flood. The shepherds of one village, besides 
their houses, lost their whole stock, 1,500 sheep, 37 oxen : therefore, 
I think that if you have a large surplus at your disposal, you will 
cheerfully give me an additional grant. I think what you have 
already given me would have been enough for all my wants, without 
this additional disaster, but now I cannot fix the exact amount which 
I really may want, as till the water subsides it is so difficult to follow 
the track of the flood ; I should say that another 10,000 rs. would be 
enough. My horse haa been nearly drowned twice in this tour in mud 
and quicksand, and I have repeatedly had to do a march on foot, 
wading in mire, and to get to Kamuthi at all I had to take my clothes 



off. Beally I am not exaggerating the misery of this small town 
when I say that it is sickening to see it, and not have the funds to 
aUeviate it all. If you send me another small grant, I can aUeviate 
some of it, though, of course, I am writing to the collector of the 
district, and I do not know what help the Government is inclined to 
give. — J. Lee Wabneb. 






Long familiarity with the dismal duty of fighting famine 
in India has not yet led to certitude in modes of conflict. 
The experience of former disasters has not yet been 
formulated and made easy of access. Consequently each 
new catastrophe presents the spectacle of schemes at- 
tempted which afterwards have to be amended ; indeed 
experience has to be * made ' instead of a few broad 
lines of policy being followed, adapted to meet particular 
circumstances, which, in time of scarcity, are pretty 
much the same in all parts of India. In 1873-74, when 
the scarcity in Behar was occupying much time and 
attention, one of the chief subjects of consideration was 
the amount of food required daily by the people who 
were to be fed at the State's expense. Lord Northbrook, 
the Viceroy, on the data that if I4 lb. is enough for an 
adult, 1 lb. per head will feed a population including 
children of all ages, put the quantity at half a seer, or one 
pound of grain for each man, woman, and child. Sir 
Kichard Temple, who took over charge of the famine 
portfolio when he succeeded Sir George Campbell as 
Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, put the quantity at 
three-quarters of a seer, or 1^ lbs. In urging the 
adoption of this standard, Sir Richard said : — 

168 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

This rate (} of a seer, or about 1^ lbs. per head, for men, women, 
and children), at which grain should be provided, was assumed after 
due consideration and discussion. The lowest diet provided in Bengal 
gaols for non-labouring prisoners is equal to about 1 seer, or 2 lbs. The 
ordiQaiy diet of a labouring adult in Bengal is taken, after statistical 
enquiry, to be 1 seer of rice, besides i seer (about ^ lb.) of fish, pulse, 
pepper, or other condiments. The diet prescribed for adult Bengalee 
emigrants on shipboard and for Bengalee sailors, always exceeds one 
seer a day in total weight, and in some cases it reaches 2 seers a day. 
Many of the poor people for whom grain was to be provided would 
be labouring hard on relief works during inclement and exhausting 
weather. Nearly the whole of the Gk>vemment provision of grain con- 
sisted of rice, which contains less strength-giving qualities than wheat 
and some other grains. It was known that each bag of the expected 
consignments of Burmah rice would contain from 8 to 20 per cent, of 
innutritions husk. In view of all these considerations I framed my 
estimates of total requirements on the basis that each person to be re- 
lieved would on the average require } of a seer (1^ lbs. of grain) a day. 
In practice it is found that even to ordinary paupers, who did not 
do any work, local committees had to give f of a seer of rice daily be- 
sides one pie (| of a penny) for the purchase of salt and condiments ; 
to women in delicate health and to persons reduced by previous hunger, 
a still larger daUy dole had to be allowed. 

The Duke of Argyll was at that time Secretary of 
State for India, and when the question came before him, 
he supported the larger estimate and ordered its adoption. 
His Grace argued that it was better to err on the safe 
side, and give the people a fraction more than was ab- 
solutely essential rather than a fraction less. 

When distress, in 1876, occurred in Bombay, as is 
stated in the Bombay narrative, in vol. i. of this book, a 
system of works of two kinds, viz., professional agency, 
in which 75 per cent, of an ordinary day's toil should 
be done, and Civil agency, in which 50 per cent was 
required, was adopted ; those who worked hardest were 
best paid. The rates which were decided upon have 
been already given, but they may be repeated here. 
They are : — 


Public Works Department Scale. 

Man. Womaw. Child otbb 7 tears op agb 

1 ansa, plus the value ^ anna plus the value ^ anna, plus the value 
of 1 lb. of grain. of 1 lb. of grain. of ^ lb. of grain. 

Civil Agency Scale,^ 

i anna, plus the value ^ anna, plus the value ^ anna; plus the value 
of 1 lb. of grain. of 1 lb. of grain. of ^ lb. of grain. 

In Madras the Board of Revenue, dealing with cer- 
tain proposals then before it, prescribed the following, 
with reference to the existing orders of Government as 
to addition of condiments or equivalent in money, to 
grain wages. 

Maximam in monej. In grain and money. 

BS. A. P. 

Men 2 1^ lbs. and 3 pies. 

Women and grown boys .014 1 lb. and 2 pies. 

Children . . . . 10 Of lb. and 1 pie. 

The quantity of rice which the maximum rate, 2 
annas, would purchase in most districts at that time 
was from 1'7 to 2 lbs., and 3 pies would purchase 
about ^ lb. Hence the 2 -anna rate, which was very 
generally in force, left about li lbs. over and above 
what had to be bartered for condiments. This the 
Board considered excessive. 

The orders from which the above rates are quoted 
go on to say: — 

The Board will therefore prescribe 1^ lbs. and 3 pies as the grain 
and money wage of a man oooly, and rule that when prices rise so that 
anna 1-9 will not buy 1^ lbs. of second sort rice, the grain and money 
scale is to be introduced. The following will be substituted for the 
draft rule 10 in certain instructions submitted for sanction : — 

Wages paid iu money are not to exceed 2 annas for a man, 
auna 1-4 for a woman or boy between twelve and fifteen years, and 
10 pies for a boy or girl between seven and twelve years old. Boys 
over fifteen are paid as men, and girls over twelve as women. Chil- 
dren under seven are not to be employed on relief works. When local 

^ It should be borne in mind that there were never more than 10 per 
cent, of the people on Civil Agency works : nine-tenths were on the Public 
Works scale. 

170 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

prices rise so high that anna 1-9 will not purchase 1^ lbs. of second 
sort rice (38*98 tolahs=l lb.), arrangements are to be made to pay in 
grain and money on the following scale : — 

Men 1^ lbs. + 3 pies. 

Women and grown boys . . 1 „ + 2 „ 
Obildren . . . . 0} ,, + 1 pie. 

It will be noted that the Board have throughout 
taken rice as the grain with reference to the price of 
which wages are to be adjusted. This is favourable to 
the cooly, as the other grains which are the ordinary 
food of the bulk of the labouring classes are still cheaper 
than rice. Government had not then specified what 
grain should be taken. 

When the correspondence came before the Madras 
Government on January 12 (his Grace the Gover- 
nor had not returned from Delhi), the Government 
approved the Board's proceedings, with the ex- 
ception of the rule regulating the rate of grain 
wages, in which they considered IJ lbs. should be 
substituted for 1 J lbs., and they directed that when 2 
annas would not buy 1^ lbs. of second sort rice, or 
other grain in general local use, wages were to be paid 
in grain, together with a small money payment for 
condiments, thus: — 

lbs. pies. 

Men 1^ + 3 

Women and grown boys . . .1+2 
Children 0} + 1 

It was added : ' The adoption of rice as the grain 
with reference to the price at which wages are to 
be adjusted is approved. Collectors will, of course, 
understand that so long as the local market rates for 
other staple grains will provide the prescribed ration 
for the money wage, the change to grain wage need not 
be made.' ^ 

^ The officer (Mr. J. F. Price^ assistant to the collector of Bellary, soon 
after made acting collector of Ouddapah, where, duriDg the distress he 
did most excellent service) upon whose comments this order was passed, 


This was practically the ration which was being 
granted in the Madras Presidency when Sir Richard 
Temple hurriedly arrived in the Presidency — 'like 

gave the following reaaons why at least two pounds of grain per day, and 
condiments^ should be given : — 

First, — ^The coolies are not in good condition. One cannot posltiyely 
call them emaciated, but they are below the mark, and getting any decent 
amount of work out of them will, unless they are fiiirly fed, end in the 
appearance of sickness; certainly cholera, and probably fever and dysentery, 
which will soon cut them off by hundreds. The recent outbreak of cholera, 
which made its appearance after a slight shower of rain, showed how prone 
the coolies were to take disease. 

Secondly, — ^There are no relief houses on the works, and all that is given 
in the way of relief is to persons who are too much emaciated to work, or 
who (according to your verbal instructions to me) are blind or maimed. We 
employ only those able to work, and the coolies have ^m their earnings to 
support a brood of children, and perhaps an aged relative or tv^o. If the 
allowance is cut down, the working members of the family, as they have 
either to do their tasks or to receive reduced wages, must eat what they get, 
and the family must go hungry. As the State will not allow them to starve, 
it must maintain them by that pernicious institution (relief houses) which I 
look upon as an incentive to pauperism and rascality of all kinds. To say 
nothing of their evil efiects, the cost of relief houses would be a far heavier 
charge upon the public purse than that of the small extra allowance of rice 
given to the actual working coolies. 

Thirdly, — ^Not giving an amount of food which will allow of the working 
members of a family keeping those who are too young or too old to labour 
produces want, and its sequence crime, and the latter, as far as the district 
is concerned, not of the ordinary petty class, but of a serious type. The 
interior arrangements of gaols are nowadays so comfortable that people in 
these famine times often prefer the regular, plentiful, and varied diet, the 
easy work, and comfortable quarters which accompany a sentence of 
imprisonment, to the hard life of the free man. Persons with these views 
are not, as the present state of the district gaol shows, very few, and they 
will cost the State many hundreds of pounds long after the famine has 
become a thing of the past. The Bellary taluk, I may in support of my 
view mention, is free from anything but petty crime. 

FovrtJdy, — The price of everything here is so high, that by the time 
that a coolie has bartered a portion of his day's wage of grain for salt and 
condiments, which he must have, or eventually die firom the simple fact of 
his eating rice ; he has less than half of what is considered amongst natives 
to be the ordinary amount of food which a labourer in hard work, such as 
digging gravel or breaking stones for eight hours a day, can consume. 

Having been for two months brought in constant contact with a very 
large body of famine coolies whom I have carefully observed, I consider it 
my duty to state why I think that the present scale of payment should be 
adhered to. If another is ordered, I will at once introduce it, bat I feel 
bound to express my conviction that it will lead to much misery and want. 

172 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

an arrow released from the bow,' as one collector 
described his advent and progress — about the middle 
of January. 

Sir Richard Temple left the presence of Sir John 
Strachey on January 9, strongly impressed with 
these ideas above all others, viz. (a) that no waste 
was to be permitted ; (b) that extravagance was to be 
sternly checked ; (c) that lavish expenditure was not 
to be sanctioned for a moment; (d) that, in a word, 
the State's resources were to be carefully husbanded- 
The Delegate pondered this counsel, and, ten days after, 
when in Bellary, saw means by which he thought he 
could reduce probable expenditure by 25 per cent. 
The people were receiving more food than they needed; 
it might be cut down by at least one-fomth. So on 
January 19 he wrote, with a confusion of expres- 
sion^ not creditable to an * experiment ' of such vast 
importance, as follows: — 

The present rate of wages is fixed at 2 annas per diem for an 
adult, and proportionately lower for women and children. This rate 
is fixed upon the supposition that it will purchase 1^ lbs. of grain per 
diem — a quantity which is deemed essential for a mem while at toork. 
There might indeed be a question whether life carmot he iustained 
with 1 pound of grain per diem, and whether Goveiiiment is bound to 
do more than sustain life. This is a matter of opinion ; and I myself 
think that 1 lb. per diem might be sufficient to sustain life, and that 
the experiment ought to be tried. Possibly the gangs might not per- 
ceptibly fall off in condition. After a week or fortnight of experience 
it woTild be seen whether they so fell off or not ; if they were to 

seriously fell off, then the point could be considered The 

people are in very good case. A reduction might now be demanded 
in the interests of financial economy, and might be attempted for a 

to the necessity for opeDbg reUef-houees, and to increased crime and disease, 
and that it will eventually add to the burden which the State has taken 
upon itself. 

* See papgages italicited in the succeeding extracts. 


time at least without danger ; at all events the trial might be made 
for people at taskwork, and especially with those who are not really 
at taskwork and who, though nominally at some sort of taskwork, 
are doing very light or nominal work, (hie pound of grain ought to 
be made to suffice. At the present prices, a rate of one anna and a 
half would purchase a pound of grain, and would leave a small margin 
for condiments, vegetables and the like. It may be that Government 
would be willing to allow more than a pound a day of grain if its 
financial means permitted ; but the demands of economy seem to re- 
quire that at all events a trial should be made as to whether a pound 
a day might not be made to suffice for the one purjx)se which is ad- 
mitted, namely, the staving off of danger by starvation. 

A copy of this minute was sent to the Madras 
Government at the same time that the original was 
forwarded to the Government of India. The sugges- 
tion was received in divers ways by the different 
authorities. By the Supreme Government, solicitous 
for the financial aspect of the question, it was cordially 
welcomed ; by the Madras authorities, anxious to save 
the people alive and in good heart, it was looked 
upon with hostility, and, for a time, resisted. In his 
joumeyings through the Presidency, the Delegate 
arrived at Madras at the end of January, and had 
repeated conferences with the Governor and his Council 
in which he urged, with much force and persistency 
the desirability of adopting his suggestion, which was 
that one pound of grain plus half an anna (three 
farthings) be the daily ration. The Madras Govern- 
ment were prepared to give all due consideration to 
the arguments for economy, and the problem they 
found difficult of solution was whether the quantity of 
food proposed would suffice to keep the multitudes in 
fair health. Their medical officers, when consulted 
gave a most emphatically adverse opinion ; other 
officers — ^those in charge of camps — were equally em- 
phatic in condemnation of the proposal. Such state- 
ments as the following from Major A. G. Murray, 

174 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

special relief officer, were before the Government, and 
naturally caused hesitation on the part of the Council. 
Major Murray, writing to the collector, Mr, Barlow, 
said: — 

The hoflpital assistant in medical charge of the camp at the Bed 
Hills assures me that 1^ Ihe. of raw rice per diem is no more than is 
absolutely sufficient for an adult person, whether he be old and in£rm 
or no, and I quite hold the same opinion. 

A less amount of food might sustain life, but would not be sufficient 
to save the recipient from hunger, which in feeding these persons is, I 
suppose, the intention of the Government. 

The complaint of the able-bodied adult doing a day's work is that 
he receives no more for his day's work than this bare allowance of 

At length, with a desire to be loyal to the Supreme 
Government and in sympathy with the wish for 
economy, the Madras authorities yielded, and on 
January 31 an order of the Governor in Council 
was issued, in which Sir Richard Temple's proposal 
was adopted, and the amount to be given to labourers 
on relief works fixed at the value of one pound of grain 
plus half an anna. 





No sooner were orders issued for the * experiment ' 
of keeping the people on one pound of food per day than 
a great outcry was raised. In vol. i., chap, iii., of this 
book, reference is made to the feeling evoked in 
India generally, but particularly in Madras. Further 
instances need not be given here, but attention may at 
once be directed to the controversy, in which the Sani- 
tary Commissioner of Madras, Dr. Cornish,^ was pitted 
against Sir Richard Temple. Of the argument between 
these two functionaries as complete a digest as possible 
will be given. 

Sir Richard Temple's minute was gazetted on Feb- 
ruary 3 ; on the 16th of the same month Dr. Cornish had 
prepared a protest which he submitted to the Madras 
Government. He began with citing the passage in 
Sir Richard Temple's minute wherein he expressed the 
* opinion ' that the ration might be reduced. * As the 
adviser of Government on public health questions in this 
part of India,' Dr. Cornish recorded his ' respectful pro- 
test ' against * opinions ' which were in direct contradic- 
tion to the accumulated testimony of scientific observers 
in every country in which the question of the quantity 
and variety of food essential to keep a labouring man in 

* * A famine authority of whom all India will one day he proud/ was the 
expression used of Dr. Oomish hy Sir W. Rohinson, K.O.S.I., speaking in 
the Madras Legislative Oouncil, in March 1878. 


health and strength had been the subject of investigation, 
* Sir Richard Temple's opinion was an individual one 
only, unsupported by evidence, scientific or otherwise, 
as to the sufficiency of 16 oz. of cereal grain to maintain 
a labouring adult in health,' whilst there was a large 
accumulation of facts which did not aflFord any support 
to such a theory. Sir R. Christison, of Edinburgh, was 
of opinion that ' the adult human body requires 36 oz. 
of dry food per diem, arranged so that the carboniferous 
and nitrogenous principles may be in the proportion of 
three of the former to one part of the latter.' This is 
seldom obtained in India, the nitrogenous principle 
in foods being defective. 

In 1863 the question of the quantity and quality of 
food necessary in India was made the occasion for 
close and searching enquiry. This enquiry was insti- 
tuted at the instigation of the British Association for 
the Advancement of Science, and the reports of district 
medical officers and others on this point were submitted 
by Dr. Cornish to the Madras Government in the year 
1864. ^ It is a curious feet,' Dr. Cornish says, 'that 
amongst all the reporters there was this combined testi- 
mony, that the minimum grain allowance of a man in 
health and in work was not less than 24 oz.^ while the 
amount which a native of good appetite was capable of 
disposing of, estimated by natives themselves, was from 
24 to 48 oz. per diem. For Bellary and Cuddapah the 
average daily allowance of dry cereal for a labourer was 
reported to be 33 and 48 oz., respectively.' 

The physiological needs of the adult human body, 
according to all scientific investigators, necessitate the 
expenditure of from 140 to 180 grains of nitrogen in 
twenty-four hours, while the body is in a state of rest. In 
ordinary labour about 300 grains of nitrogen will be 
excreted, and under great physical exertion, such as 
that of walking for many hours consecutively, Irom 500 


to 600 grains. Now, if this amount of nitrogen is not 
provided in food, it is obvious that the body must prey 
on its own tissues so long as any remain to be preyed 
upon, and this is, in fact, what happens when the food 
taken into the body is insufficient in quantity or quality 
to compensate for the constant waste that is going on in 
every organ and tissue. 

The quantity of nitrogen in 16 oz. of rice may be 
from 68 to 80 grains. Dr. Cornish proceeded to remark 
that the quantity of food essential to maintain life is a 
question very much of the work expected to be got oiit 
of the eater. ' If we want to get a maximum of steam- 
power out of an engine we must feed the furnace liberally 
with coals, and in like manner a man would soon cease 
to have any power in his muscles if the food supplies 
were inadequate.' A feeble vitality might be maintained 
for a certain length of time on a diet the staple of which 
is a pound of rice per diem, but labour on public works 
on such a dietary is quite out of the question. As 
soon as the nitrogenous matters of the food cease to sup- 
ply the normal waste of the muscular and other tissues, 
the body itself begins to die. If this slow death of the 
body goes on for too long a time, the Indian labourer 
finds himself precisely in the condition of the Edinburgh 
physiologist (Dr. Stark, who tested in his own person 
the effects of a reduced dietary) ; he is the victim of a 
form of starvation from which no amount of subsequent 
liberality in feeding can save life. Dr. Cornish urged 
that practically the important point was this ; any 
dietary which contains less than 200 grains of nitrogen 
for natives of India will not permit of severe labour or 
task work. ' The gaol diets in this Presidency are cal- 
culated to provide from 200 to 300 grains of nitrogen, 
and in certain instances these diets have had to be sup- 
plemented by extra meat and vegetables to prevent the 


178 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

men from falling into a low condition unfitting them 
for their daily task. It comes therefore to this ; 
whether in the present dearth of supplies a man engaged 
on task labour and paid at the rate of one pound of grain 
per diem, and half an anna in cash, can with the latter 
coin purchase a suflScient amount of nitrogenous nutri- 
ment (to say nothing of salt, oil, condiments, vegetables 
and firewood) to make his daily ration equivalent to 200 
grains and upwards of nitrogen. The reply is, simply, 
that neither in the shape of meat, fish, dhoU, milk, or 
buttermilk, can he procure a sufficiency to eke out the 
defects of his grain ration.' 

In a previous letter (No. 105, dated February 7), 
Dr. Cornish had pointed out that the effects of insuffi - 
cient nutriment might not be immediately apparent, and 
in regard to this question of a pound of grain being 
enough, or not enough, they would never know the 
results until the mischief resulting from a deficient 
supply of nitrogenous food had gone so far that a 
retracing of their steps would be powerless to save life. 
* I cannot too often repeat,' he said, ' that it is the slow 
and gradual form of starvation by defective nutrition in 
the daily food that is the most difficult to deal with by 
after-remedies. It is easier in these cases to break down 
the vital powers than to build up or restore.' The 
Sanitary Commissioner's final remark, in his letter, 
indicated a blot in Sir Richard Temple's proposals. Dr. 
Cornish said : — ' If the 1 lb. of rice be inadequate for 
the daily ration of a labouring man, it is sufficiently 
obvious that if he attempt to divide this amount of food 
with young children, or do without food for one day in 
the week (on Sundays), the breakdown in strength will 
come only the faster.' 

The Madras Government were much impressed 
with the tone and spirit of this letter — strong on its 
scientific side, powerful in its appeal to humane and 


utilitarian considerations. The Governor in Council 
resolved to forward a copy of Dr. Cornish's letter to the 
Government of India and to the Secretary of State, 
with an intimation that the Madras Government were 
anxiously watching the eflFect of the scale of wages in 
force, and had directed that weekly, or, if necessary, 
more frequent reports of the results be submitted to 
Government. They also arranged that Dr. Cornish 
should personally inspect some of the working gangs in 
the North Arcot and Ceded districts, and report the 
results of his observations. The Governor in Council 
further resolved that a copy of Dr. Cornish's letter 
should be forwarded to the Board of Revenue and every 
collector and district officer in charge of relief opera- 
tions, in order to warn them of the importance of the 
anxious duty confided to them of watching the effect of 
the tentative reduction of subsistence allowance, and 
directed that all Zillah surgeons at stations in the vici- 
nity of which relief works were in progress, should, as 
soon as the new scale of wages had been in force for one 
week, report to Government, after careful inspection of 
the labourers, whether they could, or could not, detect 
any indication of loss of power or flesh in the coolies ; 
they were also to maintain constant supervision, and 
forward periodical reports on the subject. 

Sir Richard Temple was not slow to take up the 
gage thrown doXvn. He wrote another minute, re- 
viewing the objections of the Sanitary Commissioner, 
Madras, to the reduced scale of wages, dated Coimba- 
tore, March 7, in which he remarks : — * Inasmuch as his 
(Dr. Cornish's) views, if these were to be adopted with- 
out adequate deliberation, might involve a large and 
unnecessary expenditure of public money, 1 would sub- 
rait for the consideration of the Governments of India 
and Madras, a few remarks on these objections.' Into 

TS 2 

180 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

the purely professional part of his opponent's arguments 
Sir Richard would not enter further than to note that 
while no doubt abstract scientific theories of great value 
on the subject of public health are of modern growth, 
the Indian population with which they were then deal- 
ing had lived for centuries in disregard of them, and 
practically at the present date the poorer classes, even 
in countries much more civilised than India, did not 
actually obtain, either in food, lodging, or ventilation, 
the amount declared by scientific men to be necessary. 
Sir Richard further noted particularly that ' most of Dr. 
Cornish's observations refer to Europeans living in a cold 
climate, where waste is greater, and largely exceeding 
the natives of India in average weight, requiring there- 
fore more food. The Edinburgh enquiries, which he 
cites, however applicable to European cases, and how- 
ever valuable in the abstract, are not strictly and 
exactly applicable to the poorer classes of the Madras 
Presidency.' The practical question, however, was 
this : ' Can and does the new scale of wages suffice to 
keep the people with whom we are now dealing in fair 
health under present conditions and circumstances. 
More than this Grovernment has declared itself unable to 
undertake.' The evidence of relief camps in the Madras 
Presidency showed that a native at rest can gain flesh 
on a pound a day. ^ Dr. Cornish apparently assumed 
that by the new scale a man could not obtain 1 .^ lbs. To 
this Sir Richard replied : — ' But in the first place it is 
to be observed, that at present prices throughout the 
greater part of the distressed district a man can, with the 
half anna which he receives in cash, buy an extra half- 
pound of grain a day, and still have a small margin over 

^ I was informed at Vellore that indigent adidta admitted to the relief 
camp in consequence of their inability to work have improved considerably 
on a ration of a pound a day. Dr. Fox, the civil surgeon^ and Captain 
Hairia^ the relief officer, were agreed on this point — Sir JR. Temple. 


for condiments ; that ie, he earns sufficient to allow him 
the minimum quantity requisite to keep him in health 
while at work. More than this, I submit, it is not in 
the power of Government to do.* 

It must be remembered (Sir Richard continued) 
that in the Madras Government Orders of January 31 
two rates of working pay are laid down, and that all 
persons who do work amounting to 75 per cent, of 
the Public Works rate, receive one pound of grain and 
one anna jn cash, while those who receive a pound of 
grain plus half an anna (who alone are referred to by 
Dr. Cornish) are only required to render task -work at 
half the Public Works rat€. Now the Public Works 
labourers are paid by piece-work, and no definite task 
is asked for ; they do as much or as little as they like, 
and are paid accordingly. The minute proceeded : — 

The result is that those who really undeigo the severe physical 
exertion descrihed by Dr. Cornish do actually receive wages equal to 
H> P^i'^ps even 2 lbs. a day, which is tantamount to what he recom- 
mends. It is only for those who do not undergo such exertion that 
the lower scale, recommended by me, and ordered by the (Government 
of Madras, is intended. Practically, at this time, by Public Works 
rate is meant the amount of work done per rupee, and relief labourers 
on the first standard are expected to do three-quarters as much for a 
rupee as common laboupers, that is, supposing the Public Works 
Department rates for earth-work to be 8 cubic yards per rupee, then 
relief labourers of the 1st class have to do 6 cubic yards for the same 
money ; and two annas being taken as the minimum wages on which 
they can be maintained in health, j of a cubic yard is the task assigned 
to enable men in this class to earn their two annas. It is considered 
(and this is in accordance with Dr. Cornish's views) that persons doing 
less work than this can live on less, so while the 2nd class laboiurer 
does only ^ a cubic yard of earth-work daily, he receives in retmn 1^ 
annas. But as observed, the Public Works rate is not a task but a 
scale, and ordinary labourers are not content to earn 2 annas daily by 
excavating one cubic yard, but as a matter of fact earn much more 
than this. I was informed by Mr. O'Shaughnessy, the district 
engineer of Nelloi'e, that some of the gangs at work on the East 
Coast Canal were earning 5 and even 6 annas a head daily, that is 

182 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

were doing five or six times as much work as is demanded from the 
relief labourers on the lower scale. 

The objection to the new scale, which Dr. Cornish states in detail, 
is properly formulated by the phrase a full day's wage (that is, some- 
thing more than the 1 lb. and the ^ anna) for a fair day's work. But 
the phrase postulates that there is a fair day's work, which is just 
what the vast majority of the relief labourers do not render. There- 
fore they are not entitled to, and do not physically need, the full day's 
wage. Where they render a really fair day's work, there they do 
receive, under the new rules, more than the reduced scale. The rates 
were avowedly recommended by me as experimental, and if they shall 
be found insufficient they may be increased ; but it appears to me that 
they have not yet been found so, and that Dr. Cornish argues from 
a mistaken premise which undermines his conclusions. If the poor 
people were found to be falling off in condition, then I would at once 
recommend an alteration in the rate ; but at present we have no such 

There was one point which Sir Richard felt he must 
concede to Dr. Cornish's arguments. In laying down 
the minimum scale, it was of course intended^ that 
each labourer should be able to consume his own wages, 
and not have to share them with other persons of his 
family. These members of the family should either 
work for themselves, or if unable to do so should be 
admitted to gratuitous relief. The case of young child- 
ren who accompanied their parents to the works, but 
were too young to work, that is children from one year 
to seven years of age, had already attracted his atten- 
tion, and he had recommended in a separate minute 

^ With respect to the remark ' it was of course intended,' &c., one of the 
Madras papers at the time remarked, ' In his first order about reducing the 
wages Sir Richard foigot the children. It is all very well to say that he 
had always intended that they should be separately provided for, but if an 
officer comes in with full powers to make a change, reduces wages, and does 
not give the compensatory provision for the children (which would have left 
matters very much as they were before) it is not surprising that the relief 
was restricted to the actual worker, and not extended to their families. Mr. 
Ross, of Bellary, expressly put the question as to whether he was to relieve 
the children of workers, and was told that he was not to do so. How, then, 
about the " intention ** which was said to be cherished P ' 


that a subsistence allowance be granted to them. Sir 
Richard continued:— 

Further I would urge, aa the one motive common to the Govern- 
ments of India and Madras and to all connected with the famine relief 
worksy the preservation of life and the mitigation of extreme suffering 
at the smallest cost to the State consistent with the attainment of the 
object in view, that the enquiry as to whether the reduced scale of 
wages is sufficient to enable the people to tide over the next few 
months without serious danger to themselves shoidd be decided not 
by preconceived physiological theories, but by patient practical examin- 
ation of the people themselves, with a view to ascertain whether there is 
in &ct ajiy, or any serious, change in their physical condition under the 
new scale as compared with their average condition in ordinary times. 
Having carefully inspected during my tour in this Presidency thou- 
sands of relief labourers, I give it as my opinion that with very few 
exceptions, which are not as a rule traceable to insufficient i-elief 
wages, the general physical condition of the laboui-era is as good now 
as in ordinary years.' If, as already stated, I find after a little more 
experience, that the new scale of wages does seem insufficient to main- 
tain the people in health, I will be the first to say so ; but so far, this 
has not seemed to be the case. 

In conclusion, it is not possible, I submit, to determine d priori 
on scientific data what amount of food is necessary to sustain the par- 
ticular classes who come to our relief. The real point to be considered 
is whether in ordinary times they get more than one pound a day for 
a male adult. This is an economic question which can be determined 
by calculating the rates of wages in the rural districts — not the wages 
of trained professional labourers employed by public bodies, not the 
wages of stalwart men of the professional class of workmen, but men 
of lesser physique and lighter frame, such as that of the village poor 
-^the wages received by the labouring poor in the villages of the 
interior ; and then by taking the prices of common grains in ordinary 
years. Now from enquiries made in various districts of the Madras 
Presidency, I apprehend that the labouring poor in rural localities can 
hardly get more than one pound a day for a male adult in ordinary 
times. If this be so, then the reduced scale must be sufficient for these 
i^ame people on the Government relief works, and need not be increased. 

Another minute followed quickly from the same pen 

^ This assertion is sLcwn to \e baseless from the fact thnt during the 
morth when ibis "vias ^litlen the death registers showed 50,000 additional 
deaths, and, further, there weie many deaths which were neTer registered. 

184 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

in which Dr. Cornish's scientific argument was tra- 
versed. After quoting certain passages from his 
antagonist's letter, Sir Richard says : — *In the "Madras 
Manual of Hygiene," compiled under the orders of 
Government, and published in 1875, the main parts of 
Dr. Cornish's theories are adopted. It is stated, j)age 
96 : — " The unavoidable internal work of the adult 
human being, that is, the movements necessary for 
respiration, circulation, and digestion require a mini- 
mum of 138 grains of nitrogen in 24 hours for their 
maintenance. In a state of idleness of mind and body, 
the least amount compatible with health may be stated as 
200 grains for a man and 180 for a woman. In the 
ordinary circumstances of the soldier, the artisan, the 
field labourer, and the prisoner in most of our gaols, 300 
grains will be a fair minimum. Very great physical 
exertion will demand 500 grains or even more." ' 

Sir Richard admitted that the opinion that 1 lb. 
a day of grain might suffice for a relief labourer, toge- 
ther with some allowance for condiments and the like, 
or some nutritious substance, was not indeed based on 
scientific theory It was founded rather on probabili- 
ties practically deduced from the condition of the poorer 
classes in ordinary times, and on the results of gei^eral 
experience. It was not put forth with absolute confi- 
dence. It was to be subjected to trial, not by theore- 
tical data, but by the observation of its actual results. 
He added : ' Certainly this opinion was not based on so- 
called scientific evidence, apparently taken as proved on 
the strength of experiments made on men of different 
races and habits, living under different circumstances, 
in an altogether different climate, and, probably, ex- 
ceeding by a third in average weight the people to 
whom the results of the experiments are with such 
confidence applied. For administrative and financial 


purposes, 1 should not base my recommendations on 
such data, inasmuch as the question must be one 
extremely difficult of scientific ascertainment, and in 
respect to which even the best-conducted experiments, 
if made in different parts of the world, might lead to 
varying results. And in order to show how little these 
data can be accepted for these purposes, it is sufficient 
for me to refer to the " Madras Manual of Hygiene " itself.' 
Sir Richard proceeded : — 

In an appendix, from page 361 to 380, are given the whole range 
of Madras dietaries for soldiers, sepoys, and prisoners — military and 
civil — under various drcumstanoes of sickness and in health. They 
prove, first, that as regards natives of the country the carboniferous 
bear to the nitrogenous elements of food, the ratio of about 7 to 1^ 
instead of 3 to 1 as in English dietaries (in the ration of the sepoy on 
foreign service the proportion is 10 to l-26'70 oz. to 2*68, page 379), 
and as the absolute weight of food taken daily by natives and Europeans 
is probably about the same, it follows that the amount of nitrogen 
required by natives must be much less than that required by Europeans. 
And when the diets are examined this is found to be the case. The 
Madras sepoy, when ordered on foreign service, during which he may 
be, and often is, called upon to undergo severe physical exertion, 
receives a full ration from Government. According to the theory, he 
requires a minimum of 300 grains of nitrogen when performing ordinary 
duties, but when marching or undergoing severe labour he needs 500 
or 600 grains. As a matter of fact, he gets (page 379) only 178 grains, 
little more than half the minimum required, and only about a third of 
what is declared necessary to him when called upon to do strenuous 
work. According to this theory, then, the Madras sepoy would be 
undergoing starvation at the hands of Gk)vemment. But, in fact, he 
is not so reduced physically, nor does he fail that Government when it 
calls upon him for exertions compared to which the labour demanded 
from most of our relief labourers is as nothing. This case, I submit, 
makes very strongly against Dr. Cornish's theory, but a still stronger 
one yet remains behind. 

The British soldier, to whom, if to any one, the theory should 
apply, requiring like the sepoy 300 to 600 grains under like circum- 
stances, receives 242 grains of nitrogen in his full ration, that is, 25 
per cent, less than the minimum required to keep him in health when 
in garrison, and less than half what he ought to have when marching 

186 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

or on servioe. But this is not all, for when his ordinary work is not 
demanded of him, as when he is in garris(Hi or at sea, he receives only 
a reduced ration and, singularly enough, though the details of the two 
rations are altogether dijflferent ('' Madras Manual," pages 364 and 369), 
the amount of nitrogen contained in each is identical,namely, 155 grains, 
about half of tJbe amount declared to be the minimum necessary to 
maintain him in health, a quarter of what he should have when on 
servioe, and considerably lees than the least amount compatible with 
health in a state of rest of body and mind, as laid down in the quota- 
tion from the '' Madras Manual" already cited. Ajocording to this 
theory we should have to imagine that the British soldier is half 
starved on board ship, or that he is landed in India in a reduced con- 
dition physically, or in a state of health which could hardly be restored 
by subsequent nutrition. The actual fact is, of course, the reverse. 

'These statements and estimates of the chemical 
constituents of the military rations, both for European 
and native troops, are not (be it remembered) made by 
me/ continued the Delegate, ' but they have been fur- 
nished by the " Madras Manual of Hygiene ; " they are put 
in the simplest form possible, and can be verified by any 
one, though he may not be versed in the chemistry of 
food or the data on which the calculations are made. 
And I submit that they prove conclusively that the 
theories enunciated by English authorities, however 
eminent, and apparently adopted without additional 
experiment by the " Manual," do not in fact apply except 
in the most general way to Englishmen themselves, and 
cannot be at all accepted as valid reasons why Govern- 
ment should desist from a trial suggested by experience, 
which, if successful, will conduce to saving the people 
on the one hand, and to preventing unnecessary expen- 
diture on the other. I should not have discussed this 
matter at all had not the scientific theory been pro- 
pounded with so much decision and with such strongly- 
worded remonstrance against the disregard of it. But 
we see that the theory is not applicable, and cannot be 
implicitly accepted. If, as stated in my minute of 7th 

DR. Cornish's reply. 187 

current, it is found on a deliberate and dispassionate 
trial that the new scale is insuflScient, and that the 
labourers do not maintain their health, it can, of course, 
be revised. But I have sufficiently shown that this is 
a matter which may be left to careftil observation of 
the condition of the people, and not deduced (t priori 
from theoretical considerations which break down when 
subjected to plain criticism and are shown to be inap- 
plicable to the case in hand. Though constrained to 
demur to the manner in which the Sanitary Commis- 
sioner applies certain theories to the proposed practice 
in our relief operations, I am fully conscious of the 
benevolent and charitable motive»by which Dr. Cornish 
is actuated, and of his meritorious labours for the wel- 
fare of the people in this Presidency.' 

The rumour was current in Madras that when Dr. 
Cornish received the two minutes of Sir Richard 
Temple, which were forwarded to him by the Madras 
Government, he exclaimed, with Cromwell just before 
the battle of Dunbar, 'The Lord has delivered him 
into my hands.' Certainly the Sanitary Commissioner 
girded his loins, and penned a reply which the medical 
profession generally considered smote the adversary 
hip and thigh. This rejoinder was written in a white 
heat of feeling, but, competent authorities assert, without 
being in any sense unfair to the antagonist's argument. 
A summary of the minute would not do justice to it, 
and, in spite of its length, a full abstract must be given. 

In his covering letter, forwarding the reply. Dr. 
Cornish said : — 

The Government of India, while giving every publicity to the 
minutes above refeiTed to in the official Gazette of India, has not 
thought proper to give a like publicity to my letter No. 115 of 
February 13, to overthrow the arguments of which these minutes were 
especially designed. The subject involved is the sufficiency or other- 

188 THE 1-LB. RATION, 

wise of an arbitrary allowance of food to maintain the health and 
strength of the labouring poor. It is a practical question of the 
highest interest to men of science, political economists, and social 
reformers in eveiy part of the world, and in the interests of humanity 
generally I venture to express a hope that the fullest publicity be 
given to my own part in the discussion as well as to Sir Bichard 
Temple's, so that the public, and scientific men in particular, may 
have the subject of discussion before them. 

This remonstrance produced effect, for Dr. Cornish's 
letters appear in the Blue Book on the Indian Famine, 
having been previously published in the Gazette of 

Dr. Cornish, in the earlier paragraphs of his ' Reply 
to Sir Richard Temple's Minutes of March 7 and 
14, as to the sufficiency of a pound of grain as the 
basis of famine wages,' is somewhat apologetic as 
regards his own action in bearding an official of the 
eminence of Sir Richard Temple. ' Sir Richard Temple 
thought,' he says, * that the sufficiency or insufficiency 
of this grant of food was a matter of "opinion," and 
recommended that a scale of payment based on the 
price of a pound of grain should be tried " as an experi- 
ment" in the various relief operations throughout this 
Presidency, and the Madras Government had already 
acceded to the proposition, and issued orders for the 
enforcement of a reduced scale of wages, before I was 
aware that the subject had been before the Government. 
Under these circumstances.there was a choice of courses 
before me : I might have held my peace, and in the 
event of subsequent calamity have sheltered myself 
under the plea that the Madras Government had not 
done me the honour of seeking my advice before sanc- 
tioning the reduced scale of wages ; or, knowing from 
long and painful experience the risks to the population 
resulting fi'om inadequate food and nourishment, and 
the general want of accurate knowledge of subjects by 


most people, I might have ventured, unsolicited, to 
sound a not€ of warning to the Government, and to 
state my opinion in terms admitting of no misunder- 
standing. I chose the latter course, and I am very glad 
that I did so, as my letter has drawn forth two elabo- 
rate minutes from Sir Richard Temple regarding the 
basis on which he calculated that a pound of grain a day 
would suffice for a labouring man, and the subject can 
now be discussed purely on its merits by scientific men 
and the public at large, quite irrespective of the official 
positions of the parties contributing to the solution of 
the problem of feeding a people with the least ex- 
penditure of life and money/ 

Then followed a thrust : ' I have, of course, been 
an attentive reader of famine literature, to which Sir 
Richard Temple has been so large and valuable a con- 
tributor. His most masterly " Narrative on the famine 
in Bengal and Behar in 1874 " lays down with clearness 
and precision the data on which the importation of grain 
was then determined, and I need not say that I agree 
almost entirely with every word Sir Richard Temple 
then wrote in regard to the quantity and quality of the 
food required for the maintenance and health of the 
people.' The passage which is quoted in chapter i. of 
this section is given in parallel columns, with extracts 
from the minutes of 1877, and Sir Richard Temple is 
convicted of inconsistency. 

In his minute of March 7, 1877, Sir Richard 
Temple declines to enter into the * purely professional 
arguments* advanced in Dr. Cornish's letter further 
than to note that, ' while, no doubt, abstract scientific 
theories of great value on the subject of public health 
are of modern growth, the Indian population, wirii 
which we are now dealing, have lived for centuries in 
disregard of them/ To this Dr. Cornish replies : — 

190 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

I must confess that I am not quite clear as to the meaning of 
the above extract. I did not put forward any ' abstract scientific 
theory,' but merely stated a /actf that as the human frame, in eveiy 
race and climate, disposes of a certain amount of nitrogenous matter 
eveiy twenty-four hours, a like amount must be taken into the body 
in food to restore that waste, otherwise the tissues of the body will 
gradually disappear; and that in my opinion one pound of rice, 
containing from sixty to eighty grains of nitrogen, and a small money 
payment of six pice, or three farthings, would not suffice to enable 
a labourer to provide a sufficiency of nitrogenous food to restore his 
daily waste of tissue. In reply, I am told, in effect, that abstract 
scientific theories are very pretty in their way, but that the Indian 
people, who disregard them, manage to get on very well without 
them. But this manner of disposing of the subject does not seem to 
have satisfied Sir Bichard Temple, for in a subsequent minute, 
dated March 14, he endeavours to grapple with the scientific objec- 
tions to his proposals. 

It was, however, with the practical objections of the 
first minute that Dr. Cornish preferred to deal at the 
outset. He did this by showing that the enquiries of 
1863 proved that Sir Richard was in error in supposing 
that his (Dr. Cornish's) remarks had reference to the 
dietaries of Europeans, when he was at special pains to 
point out that an independent investigation, conducted 
by 20 or 30 medical officers in the mofussil civil sta- 
tions, and checked by his (Dr. Cornish's) own indepen- 
dent enquiries and observations, showed that the 
minimum grain allowance of a man in health and in 
work was not less than 24 ounces, and that it was fre- 
quently double that quantity in favourable seasons. 
Moreover, in regard to the proportion of nitrogenous to 
non-nitrogenous food, the reference made to Sir Robert 
Christison's labours was simply to show the standard 
to which all successful dietaries should approach, and 
Dr. Cornish expressly admitted that in the food of an 
Indian people the * proportions of 1 to 3 are but barely 
attained, and the tendency is always to a smaller pro- 


portion of nitrogenous food.' The whole experience he 
wished to bring forward on this question of food and 
health was Indian experience, and he expressed himself 
surprised that Sir Richard Temple, who knew so well 
in 1874 what the ordinary food of the people was, should 
write as if there had never existed any periodical 
medical literature in India, or that he should ignore the 
fact that every Indian medical authority who had 
written on the subject of food for prisoners was opposed 
to his recent opinions. ' One might think/ indignantly 
writes the Sanitary Commissioner, * from Sir Richard 
Temple's minute, that men like Leith, Che vers, Ewart, 
Bedford, Strong, Mouat, Fawcus, Irving, Forbes, 
Watson, Mayer, Lyon, myself, and many others, whose 
papers I have not immediately at hand to refer to, had 
never thought out the subject of feeding in its practical 
and scientific aspects, and that gaol and other diets in 
India had been constructed without reference to the 
nutritious quality of the food grains, or to the propor- 
tions of the various kinds of food. It must be abun- 
dantly clear to Government that if this new theory of 
Sir Richard Temple's is correct, viz., that 1 lb. of 
grain and a small money payment equivalent to three 
farthings, is enough to keep a labouring man in health 
and strength while undergoing a fair daily task, then 
every administration in India has been for years past 
inciting people to break the law by providing criminals 
with a dietary beyond their actual necessities, and all 
the carefully recorded experience of the last 30 years, 
as to the e£fects of food on health in Indian gaols, must 
be discarded as worthless.' 

Dr. Cornish would, he said, have occasion to show, 
however, that the carefully built up experience of the 
past must be the guide in this matter, in preference to 
the mere 'opinions' of a gentleman \^ho, apparently 

192 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

unconscious of the cruelty involved in his proposals, 
would desire to begin a huge * experiment ' on the 
starving poor of this country, at a time and under con- 
ditions which would prevent the results of that ' experi- 
ment' ever being tested and recorded. Dr. Cornish 
continued (and in these passages he touched some of the 
vital points of the controversy, particularly in reference 
to the examinations of relief gangs periodically) : — 

What in fact was tUe proposition of Sir Richard Temple's to 
which I took exception f It was this. ' There might indeed be a 
question whether life cannot be sustained with one pound of grain per 
diem, and whether Gk)yeriiment is bound to do more than sustain life. 
This is a matter of opinion, and I think that one pound per diem 
might be sufficient to sustain life, and that the experiment ought to be 
tried. Perhaps the gangs might not perceptibly fall off in condition. 
After a week or fortniglit of experience, it would be seen whether 
they so fisdl off or not.' 

If it were not so serious a matter as a blind experimentation on 
the limits of human endurance, it would be amusing to note the 
method by which Sir Richard Temple hereproposes to test the results. 
' After a week or fortnight of experience,' he says, * it would be seen 
whether the gangs fidl off perceptibly in condition.' Now what are 
the conditions abroad in the country by which such an experiment 
could be subjected to those rigorous tests which would satisfy practical 
men as well as scientific men ? Our relief works are scatt^^ over 
many thousands of square miles of country, they are but indifferently 
supervised, and in no instances are the native supervisors qualified to 
test the results of any special efystem of feeding or payment as 
regards the health of the people. To record the results c^ such an 
experiment with the accuracy required it would be essential to weigh 
every individual of a gang, to enter their names and weights in 
columns, and to repeat the weighing week by week for a period of 
several months, — to note also the condition of each individual, week 
by week) as to ansemia, pulse, tongue, heart's action, muscular power, 
&c. An 'experiment' of this nature might be carried out as 
regards a few persons under the constant observation of a medical 
man, aided by careful assistants, but it is obvious that the results on 
a large scale, according to the tests proposed by Sir Richard Temple, 
could never be ascertained. Sir Richard Temple does not seem to be 
aware of the fact that * a week or two ' of low living, while doing 


much mischief, might still give no results measurable by the eye or 
by weighing. 

There is nothing more remarkable in connection with these 
famine relief works than the sudden changes and fluctuations in the 
persormel of the gangs. The people inspected one day may be away 
the next. The people falling ill and unable to work are replaced by 
others, and there is never any certainty that two inspecting officers 
going over the same gi'ound within a short interval of time are 
seeing the same people Any comparison of their observations or 
reports, therefore, can scarcely be gone into profitably while this 
uncertainty exists in regard to the identity of the individuals com- 
posing the gangs. 

There is, however, a rough and coarse test of the results of the 
reduction of wages 'which may commend itself to the notice of 
Crovemment. It is that while the numbers paid for and supposed to 
be employed on relief works in the first week in February were 
907,316, they fell in the last week of March to 662,195, and that the 
numbers ' too weak for work, requiring cooked food in relief houses,' 
had increased from 38,163 in the first week of March, to 99,113 in 
the last week of the same month. From my recent inspection in 
Madanapalli and Boyachoti I found these helpless and infirm people 
wei'e increasing at the rate of more than 100 a day at each relief 
house, and if they continue so to increase, as I think is but too 
probable, the numbers to be fed in the Guddapah district will 
probably reach 20.000 within the next two months, instead of 3,294, 
as in the last week of March. I leave it for others to determine 
whether the policy of instituting a bare subsistence wage on relief 
works has, or has not, contributed to the enormous increase of the 
sick and feeble, and of the gratuitous feeding throughout the dis- 
tressed districts. 

The condition of the labouring gangs varied very 
much in the several localities. Some had very little 
distance to go to their labour, and in such cases the col- 
lection of half a cubic yard of road material Dr. Cornish 
thought might not involve any unusual exertion. But 
even in these cases he had seen work attempted when 
the ground was as hard as iron, and with tools much 
too heavy for the strength of those who had to wield 
them, and oflScials of the Public Works Department had 
told him that in their contract rates no coolies would 

VOL. II. o 

194 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

ever think of attempting work of this kind except 
when the ground had been softened by rain. In 
Buch cases the bodily wear and tear of moving half a 
cubic yard of material, or executing 50 per cent, of a 
Public Works Department task, was considerable, and 
especially in the case of weakly gangs. He had seen 
moreover very wretched and enfeebled creatures in 
the gangs who had come, some distances of four, 
six, and even eight miles to their work, some of 
them dragging their children to and fro with them, 
and he had no hesitation in stating that when these 
walking distances and carrying weights were taken 
into account with the day's work, the expenditure of 
force was far ahead of its replenishment in the shape of 
food wages. 

With regard to the statement that the lowest scale 
of wages would permit in most instances of men buying 
1^ lbs. of grain in addition to condiments and some 
other nourishment, however that might be the case in 
the BeUary district or in certain stations on the line of 
railway which Dr. Cornish had not then inspected, it 
was not so in the upland taluks of North Arcot and 
Cuddapah. At Goorumkonda the bazaar price of rice 
was only 13 lbs. the rupee, and at Royachoti about 
14 lbs., so that one anna would not purchase even 1 lb. 
of grain. The mode of calculating the wages, too, in 
some districts had practically the effect of reducing the 
earnings of men from la. 6p. to 1 a. 5p. or la. 4p., and 
what with deductions for short work, and the * custo- 
mary tribute ' to the gangsmen, there was reason to fear 
that in a very large proportion of cases the labourers 
did not get anything like the whole of the reduced wage. 

Dr. Cornish noted that Sir Richard Temple had 
made a most important concession to the famine labour- 
ers in consequence of his protest, and if no oth^ good 


had resulted, he felt bound to thank the Delegate for the 
consideration given to the last paragraph of his letter, 
in which he pointed out that a man must eat^ even if tie 
had no work^ on Sundays, and that a subsistence wage 
ought not to be shared with young children. 

Practically (Dr. Comiah oontinaes), there is now very little 
difference between Sir Richard Temple's wage-rate and my own recom- 
mendations. I have contended, and have given reasons for consider- 
ing, that the basis of a pound of grain for a labouring man was unsafe, 
especially when that wage was paid only for siz days in the week, 
and when helpless children had to share in the food. Sir Richard 
Temple admits the weakness of this portion of his scheme, and by con- 
ceding additional help to feed the young, has in point of fact yielded 
all that I felt justified in urging. 

According to my observation, though the ordinary wage rate 
of 2 annas, 1-6, and 1 anna for men, women, and children respec- 
tively, may in some districts be too little to procure a sufficiency 
of nourishing food to keep up health, yet in times like these the people 
are ready enough to work for such wages cheerfully, and with a good 
heart, getting payment for and doing work only on six days in the 
week. Whatever deficiencies in their food there may be they supple- 
ment in their own fashion by using articles that, though not in general 
use, may help at a pinch to sustain life, such as the seeds of the 
bamboo, tamarind, dkc., the pith of the aloe plant, and certain jungle 
leaves like the Sethia Indica. 

The actual wage receipts of a man, wife, and four children, on the 
old and amended new scale of wages are given below 

Ordinary ScaU, 

B. A. p. 

Man . . 6 days at 2 annas . 12 

Woman . . „ 1^ „ . . 

2 0hildren . „ 1 „ . . 12 

2 Children under 7 years of age . . — 

Total per week .210 

Sir Bichard Temples Amended Sade, 

Man , . 7 days at 1^ annas • . 10 6 

Woman . . „ U „ ..089 

2ChUdien . „ 1 „ . . 10 

2 Ohildren under 7 years ^ „ .,036 

Total per week .213 


From this oomparison it will be seen that in the case of a man 
with a family of four children, two of whom are workers and two 
non-workers, he ia actually better off by three pies per week under 
Sir Blchard Temple's modified reduced wage than he was when work- 
ing six days in the week for ordinary wages. Mr, "West, C.E., in 
charge of the Cheyar embankment works, informs me that to meet the 
views of the district authorities, and to avoid the appearance of com- 
petition in the labour market, he has reduced his rates from the 
ordinary two annas to the modified scale of Sir Richard Temple's, and 
paid for the Sundays, and that, practically, his disbursements per head 
average just the same ae before. 

The great financial saving, therefore, of ever so many lakhs of 
rupees is not likely to accrue from the introduction of the new scale of 
wage. It has given intense dissatisfaction to the labouring people, 
who could not or would not comprehend its terms ; it has opened the 
door for abuses of various kinds, and it has not tended to economy in 

Sir Eichard Temple asks if I will admit that a pound of grain a 
day is sufficient to maintain an adult native of India in a * state of 
rest.' In reply, I have to state that I do not know of any cereal grain 
which would give a sufficiency of albuminous matter in a lb. weight 
to replace the daily waste of nitrogen from the adult native body, and 
consequently I am unable to admit any such proposition. The ' evi- 
dence ' adduced by Sir Richard Temple in regard to this matter is in 
reality no evidence at all. Sir Richard says that in the Yellore relief 
camp Dr. Fox and Captain Harris were agreed that men had so im- 
proved on 1 lb. of grain ; but when I came to enquire into this matter 
I found that the ' evidence ' rested on general impressions, and not on 
periodical weighing and individual record of weight from time to 

Even in the ' weight test ' some caution is necessary, for many of 
the people who come into camps appear to be filling out and fattening, 
when in reality they are getting dropsical and in a fair way to die. I 
can easily understand that the people in the Yellore camp did better 
on 1 lb. of grain per diem than they did on 12 ounces, which was 
the scale in use a few weeks ago when Dr. Fox urged an increase. 

I have thought it safer and more prudent in this matter to fall 
back on our experience in dieting non-labouring prisoners, and to re- 
commend 20 ounces, or 1^ lb. of cereal grain besides dhoU, vegetables, 
condiments, &o,, for adults fed in relief camps, and this allowance 
is now sanctioned by (Government, and should be, I think, a Tninimni^ 
allowance, considering how much tissue these poor creatures have to 
repair before they can be brought into a state to do a day's work. 


In a paper recently brought to my notice by Sutgeon-General G. 
Smith, I find that at Nellore Surgeon-Major A. M. Ross lias been weigh- 
ing coolies on relief works, and their average weight is below that of 
average * under trial ' prisoners in gaol. Thus : — 

In Gaol, 




1091 lbs. 

92-3 Ibe. 
Rdifff Works, 

700 lbs. 

94*3 lbs. 

77-6 lbs. 

46-0 lbs. 

These weights appear to indicate much wasting, but the weighings 
will be continued and reported on from week to week. 

In the last paragraph of his minute of March 7, Sir Bichard 
Temple states his belief that the labouring poor in Madras in nutil 
localities can hardly get more than one pound of grain a day for a 
male adult in ordinary times. The enquiries on which this belief is 
founded were made, I apprehend, by Sir Richard Temple himself, in 
his rapid journey through the country. 

But I should submit to any impartial person whether enquirie? 
made in this way, to satisfy a foregone conclusion, can be compared in 
value with the careful statistical enquiry undertaken calmly and 
deliberately in the years 1862 and 1863, and which enquiry furnished 
the basis for all our subsequent arrangements in the dieting of the 
people under circumstances where they cannot have any voice in the 
choice of their own food. Most people in India are acquainted with 
the sort of answer a high official personage will get in reply to leading 
questions, and if Sir Richard Temple thinks he has got at the truth in 
this matter, I can assure him, after a close practical study of the food 
of the people of Southern India for the last fifteen years, that he is 
utterly and entirely mistaken, and that so far from the labouring 
adults living upon a pound a day, they eat on the average nearly 

Dr. Cornish then proceeded to the consideration of 
Sir Richard Temple's second minute, of March 14, 
in which he entered upon the scientific questions in- 
volved in the objections to his diet scale. Here again 
justice will not be done to the argument save by 
copious quotations. Dr. Cornish says : — 

In this minute Sir Eichard Temple obRerves, para^^ph 6 : — 

198 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

' The opinion that 1 lb. a day of grain might suffice for a relief 
labourer, together with some allowance for condiments and the like, or 
some nutritious substance, was not indeed based on scientific theory. 
It was founded rather on probabilities practically deduced from the 
condition of the poorer classes in ordinary times, and on the results of 
genera] experience.' 

I think it would have been more to the point if Sir Hichard 
Temple had given something a little more precise than the vague 
term 'general experience.' I may ask, in return, whose experience? 
Not Sir Bichard Temple's, surely ; for in 1874 he assiu'es us that the 
people in Bengal habitually use from one to two seers of grain (2 to 
4 lbs.) per adult, and that even the people in relief houses, doing no 
work, got two-thirds of a seer (1^ lbs.) Sir Eichard Temple records 
nothixig of his travels in Bombay, showing that the people on relief 
worfcft there lived on 1 lb. of grain a day. It was only on his arrival 
in the Bellary district that he evolved this strange doctrine, that a 
Madrassee could do, what the people in no other part of India can, 
thrive on 16 oz. of cereal grain a day. 

A quotation was made from a letter by Sir R. 
Christison on the rations of soldiers ; the passage urged 
that ' unskilled constructors of dietaries in famine 
times' should be * somewhat modest' in respect to their 
knowledge. It should make them especially cautious 
in the enunciation of new and strange doctrines such as 
* that the amount of nitrogen required by natives must 
be much less than that required by Europeans.' Dr. 
Cornish proceeded : — 

This is really the crucial test of the whole question, and I am 
afraid it cannot be definitely settled on the ipse dixU of Sir Bichard 
Temple. In the scientific world we are accustomed to ask that any 
one bringing forward a new theory shall state the facts on which his 
theory is based ; and in this case it would be quite fair to ask Sir 
Bichard Temple whether by himself, or with professional aid, he has 
endeavoured to test his theory by estimating and measuring the 
amount of nitrogen which natives of ordinary size and weight elimi- 
nate from their bodies. The investigation is one of by no means a dif- 
ficult character, and no one has any right to bring forward such a 
theory in proof of the sufiiciency of a scale of food without first ascer- 
taining, by repeated investigation and experiment, that the nitrogen 
excreted by natives is proportionately less than in Europeans. The 


consequences of our acceptdng such a theory without the clearest and 
plainest proof might be most disastrous, and the (yrwa prohamdi re- 
mains with the originator of the theory. 

I almost wish, in regard to Sir Richard Temple's reputation as a 
gentleman of many and varied accomplishments, that he had spared 
me the difficulty of dealing with his ' crucial tests' in paragraphs 11 
and 12 as regards the alleged discrepancies in theory and practice as 
to the amount of nitrogen necessary to a successful dietary. It is not 
a pleasant thing for one in my position to point out errors of compre- 
hension on Sir Richard Temple's part ; but, however painful the opera- 
tion, it must be done. Sir Richard Temple quotes from the ' Madras 
Manual of Hygiene,' a work of admitted excellence, by Surgeon-Major 
H. King, M.B., the composition of a scale of rations allowed to native 
soldiers on foreign service. He points out very truly that these 
rations, while yielding an abundance of carboniferous food (32 oz. 
of rice), are very defective in nitrogenous principles, the whole weight 
of food in fact yielding only 178 grains of nitrogen per diem. ' Ac- 
cording to this theory,' observes Sir Richard Temple, ' the Madras 
sepoy would be undergoing starvation at the hands of Government. 
But, in fact, he is not reduced physically, nor does he fail the Govern- 
ment when it calls upon him for exertion. This case, I submit, makes 
very strongly against Dr. Cornish's theory.' 

I have no excuse to make for this dietary of our native soldiers 
on foreign service. I gave it up fifteen years ago, and recorded my 
opinion of it in the following terms : — * The deficiency of animal food 
in the diet, and the excess of carboniferous material, is undoubtedly a 
fertile source of the prevalence of sickness in native troops on foreign 
service. The mortality of Madras troops on this diet in Burmah is 
more than double what occurs in Indian stations, where they find their 
own food.' ' 

The foreign service 'ration' in fact is a 'survival' from the 
time of the first Burmese "War. It was formed in times long before 
sanitary commissioners or chemists learned in food-composition 
existed ; and at the present time it is no more to be regarded as a 
typical ' diet ' than are the buttons on the backs of our dress-coats to 
be regarded as a device for supporting a sword-belt. The ration is 
simply an ' aid ' to the soldiers employed in a foreign country, and the 
men are put under no stoppages whatever on account of it, but draw 
the full pay of their rank, just as if they had to find every particle of 
food out of their pay. If the relief coolies in whose behalf I have 
protested had seven or nine rupees a month in addition to the pound 

* Madras Medical Journal^ vol. viii. p. 30. 



of grain, I shoiild have made no objections to the insufficiency of their 

The GU)vernment expect, in these settled times, with the Burmese 
markets well supplied with poultry, eggs, fish, and flesh, that the 
Sepoy can buy his nitrogenous food for himself, and practically he does 
so to such an extent that of late years the troops stationed in Burmah 
have been almost as healthy as when in Southern India. 

But there are and have been exceptions. I need not go back to 
the very terrible mortality of native troops from bowel complaints in 
the first and second Burmese Wars. These things are matters of 
history, but no latar than the year 1872 a detachment of native 
troops was sent from Burmah to occupy posts on the Anucan river 
in co-operation with the Lushai expedition. 

In this locality the men had no market at hand in which to buy 
animal food, and in attempting to live on their 'rations' they sickened 
and died in large numbers. The proportions are given in the following 
table : — 

Strength . . . . 184 

Hospital admissions . . 901 

Deaths (12 from 'dropsy,' 6 

from * debility') . . 17 

Ratios of sick to strength 

per mille . . . 4,8967 
Deaths .... 146*7 

In this case and in all others demanding active service away from 
markets of supply, the native soldier on fomgn service does^ in fact, 
* fail to do what the GU)vemment expects of him,' and simply because 
his ' rations ' are unfitted of themselves to support his health and 
strength. The fact is acknowledged and admitted by every officer 
who has commanded in Burmah. 

Then, again, the * rations ' of the European soldier do not, as Sir 
Richard Temple supposes, constitute his whole food. Every com- 
manding officer knows that the British soldier habitually buys extra 
meat from the bazaar out of his ample pay, and there is no regiment 
in the country which has not a provision shop of its own in which 
anything, from a Yarmouth bloater to a truffled sausage, may be 
bought. The I'ations on the whole are fairly adapted for the British 
soldier, although there is no doubt that he eats more meat than the 
quantity contained in the ration. 

I must confess that I was a little staggered by Sir Eichard Temple's 
quotation of the scale of food allowed to ' European soldiers on board 
ship.' I was travelling at the time of receiving the minute, and away 
from all books of reference, so that I could not verify the composition 
of the diet as given in the ' Madras Manual of Hygiene ' ; but I knew 
that this diet had been framed under the advice of scioitific men, and 


that it was not likely to err in the direction of giving too little nitro- 
genous food, and I was quite satisfied that some error had crept into 
the calculations, and that Sir Richard Temple had pitched upon this 
' crucial instance ' without thought of the possible inaccuracy of the 
figures. The explanation of the calculated quantity of nitrogen in 
this diet being only 155 grains per day is very simple. The diets 
which are valued in the ap^^endix to the * Madias Manual of Hygiene ' 
are all taken from the * Madias Medical Code.' The quantities of this 
particular diet will be found in the code, page 133, vol. u. The 
transcriber instead of entering 4 lbs., or 64 oz. of ' fresh bread' for a 
week's ration, has made the mistake of entering 4 oz., and, as a conse- 
quence, all the calculations of albuminous and carboniferous food are 
below the actual truth. 

There is also another error. The calculator of the nutritive 
values has assumed that * salt-meat ' contains less albumen than fi'esh, 
and has put down a less propoiiion of nitrogen for the salt-meat ; but 
this is not really the case, though in salt meat the albuminous matter 
may be less easily digested. The effect of salting meat is to harden 
tbe albuminous tissues, and to cause the watery juices of the meat to 
enter the brine ; consequently salt meat has more albumen in a given 
weight than fresh or preserved meat. On the whole I consider the 
ship-board dietary of the European soldier, containing as it does, 
according to my calculation, from 200 to 240 grains of nitrogen per 
diem, vevy well suited for a class of people who have nothing whatever 
to do 

I feel bound, however, to protest against the line of argument 
advanced by Sir Richard Temple, that, as the British soldier only 
needs so much nitrogenous food, the native of India can do with two- 
thirds of that amount, or less. We have no grounds whatever for 
admitting so dangerous a theory, and all our practical experience tells 
just the other way 

The effects of improving the standard of diets in the Madras gaols 
in 1867, so as to raise the amount of albuminous food equal to from 
200 to 240 grains of nitrogen per diem, has been to diminish the mean 
annual death-rate from 107 to about 22 per thousand for the eight 
years in which the new dietaries have been in force. This ought to 
be fairly convincing testimony, but there is more behind. A few 
years ago a gaol superintendent, who had been admonished by Govern- 
ment for over much flogging, was requested to adopt some other mode 
of punishment, and the punishment-book showed, in the course of a 
few months, some himdreds of entiies to this effect : * Half rations 
until he completes his task.' The result was great increase of sickness 
and mortality from the diseases such as now fill our famine camps, 

202 TUB 1-LB. RATIOX. 

viz.y sloughing ulcers, bowel complainte, dropsy, and impoverished 
blood. On discontinuing the food punishment, the mortality began 
slowly to subside to its normal proportions. So close is the connec- 
tion in &jct between a sufficiency of nitrogenous food and the health 
of the prisoners, that I never now hear of an increase of bowel 
disorders and di*opsies in a gaol without at once suspecting tam- 
pering with the food or provisions in the district prisons. In 
talking the matter over with the Inspector-Creneral of Prisons, I 
find that he has arrived at precisely the same conclusion. After 
the Bengal famine, I see it noted that the rate of mortality in the 
Julpigoree gaol was 27 per cent., chiefly from 'bowel complaints.' 
In Rungpore 17*6 per cent. In Gya, Tirhoot, and Chumparun the 
mortality was 17, 10, and 15 per cent, respectively. * Dysentery 
was the most fatal disease.' The precis writer who compiles the 
sanitary statistics of the India Office does not appear to have had a 
notion of the connection of the imdue gaol mortality with the famine, 
but notes that a ' special report has been called for ' to explain it. 
Beading between the lines I can at once tell him that it was a 
mortality from starvation diseases. 

With all these facts before me, I think myself quite justified in 
having given early warning of the danger of reducing wages to the 
basis of one pound of cereal grain a day, even admitting that my re- 
monstrance was, as Sir Bichard Temple states, * strongly worded.' It 
saves time to state in plain terms one's actual meaning, and my mean- 
ing was quite evident when I showed that Sir Kichard Temple's 
proposals were out of harmony with the experience of the Bengal 
famine, and with our actual knowledge of the effects of insufficient 

Up to this point, however, Dr. Cornish had been dis- 
cussing the question apart from actual facts fiirnished 
by the famine. In the remaining portion of his letter, 
which is quoted in its entirety, he deals with observed 
facts. He says : — 

There remains yet one more point to be noticed with reference 
to differences of opinion in regard to the present condition of the 
labouring poor. On this point Sir Bichard Temple states : ' Having 
carefully inspected during my tour in this Presidency thousands of 
relief labourers, I give it as my opinion, that with very few excep- 
tions, which are not as a rule traceable to insufficient wages, the 
general physical condition of the labourers is as good now as in 
ordinary years.' 


This is Sir Richard Temple's opinion, but not mine. I too have 
seen a considerable number of relief labourers, and have taken some 
pains to find out where the distress really is, and my experience is 
this, that if I want to see the darkest side of the famine picture, I 
must look for it elsewhere than amongst the ranks of those who have 
stUl strength enough left them to work. Consequently I make it a 
point of examining, wherever I can, the condition of the people fed 
in relief houses, lungerkhanas, and by private chaiity. I try to 
ascertain the condition of the poor who frequent the public bazaars 
and markets ; and I pay special attention to the condition of the old 
and the young, whom I find almost invariably to be the earliest 
victims of distress. It is in this respect probably that my estimate 
of the effects of the famine on the h^th of the lower classes differs 
so widely from Sir Richard Temple's. My own view is briefly this, 
that the famine is pressing with peculiar severity upon certain 
sections of the labouring classes, who average fi'om twenty to thirty 
per cent, of the population of the several districts ; that amongst 
these classes there has been ab-cady a very large mortality, primarily 
due to bad and insufiicient feeding; and that the condition of the sur- 
vivoi-s is in many cases critical in the extreme, as shown by the rapidly 
increasing proportion of persons who are unfit to work, and who have 
to be fed entirely at Government expense to keep the feeble vitality 
they have from being altogether extinguished. 

Immediately the condition of a people becomes so low that they 
cannot work, the question of saving life becomes enormously compli- 
cated, and in plain language the time has then passed by when 
Government relief can do more than attempt to rescue a few 
possessed of the strongest constitutions. What has been our experi- 
ence in this respect in the Madras relief camps now being established 
throughout the country) Sir Richard Temple, I observe, in his 
numerous minutes, has passed by this subject of the actual mortality 
of the famine-stricken, but as a public health official, I am bound to 
take notice of it. 

The following figures show the mortality amongst this class 
of the population in the Madras camps for ten weeks ending 
March 31 :— 

Mean strength Total deaths Annual rates per mille 

11,006 . . 1,971 . . . 030-8 

This enormous mortality simply means an annual death-rate 
equivalent to 930*8 per mille of the population constantly under 
observation, and, in fact, is a death-rate which wipes out nearly the 
whole of the living within a year. The excessive death-rate going 

204 THE 1 LB. RATION. 

on in Madras is going on in every relief camp in the country. I find 
but little difference in the proportion of deaths, whether in North 
Arcot, Ouddapah, or Madras. And it must not be supposed that this 
excessive death-rate is due to cholera or small-pox, for the Madras 
camps have been singularly free of the former, and by means of 
vaccination the small-pox epidemic has been controlled. The deaths 
are almost entirely due to diseases which invariably, in India, attack 
under-fed and starved people, viz., extreme wasting of tissue, and 
destruction of the lining membrane of the lower bowel. This is a 
simple statement of fact. Thanks to the assistance of Surgeon-General 
G. Smith and his able medical staff in Madras, this question of the 
nature of the famine disease has been abundantly verified by post-mortem 
examinations. Surgeon-Major Porter informs me that the average 
weight of bodies of full-grown men he has examined has varied from 
fifty-seven to eighty-five pounds, and it is enough to record this &ct 
to show the extreme wasting going on during life. 

But if the condition of the labouring classes is so generally 
satisfactory to Sir Richard Temple, how is it, I may ask, that the 
death-returns of the famine districts are so much above what is usual) 
I have not as yet received the returns for February, but those for 
December and January are available for comparison with the average 
results of the previous five years. I must, however, note with 
respect to these district death-returns, that from personal investiga- 
tion in the districts, I know they very much understate the real 
mortality of the last few months. The truth is, the famine has 
disorganised our village establishments to such an extent that the 
actual numbers who have already perished will never be known. 
Hundreds and thousands of people have died away from their homes, 
have fedlen down by the roadsides, and their bodies have been left to 
be eaten by dogs and jackals. Mr. Gribble, the sub-collector of 
Cuddapah, in the course of a morning's ride of fourteen miles, came 
upon eight unburied bodies, and at Boyachoti in January last Mr. 
Supervisor Matthews informed me that after an outbreak of cholera 
fifty-three dead bodies lay for days exposed in the dry bed of a river, 
near the works the relief coolies were engaged on. Walking over 
this ground two months after the event, the numerous skulls and 
human bones scattered on the surface convinced me that the state- 

I ment was founded on fact. 

I With our village establishments panic-stricken, and the village 

messengers away at relief works, it is quite certain that the death 
registration has been most incomplete. At Madanapalli I found that 
the deaths in the civil hospital had exceeded those borne on the 
village register for certain months, and at Boyachoti the deaths 



amongHt the Btarvisg people sent into the relief shed in March had 
exceeded the r^pustered mortality for the whole town. It is obvious 
therefore that the figures I now give do not represent the real truth of 
our losses ; they are at the best approximate only. 

Mortality in Famine Districts, 









Average of 6 years ( December 
ending 1876 ( January 










[ DeaOu. 



2 336 









Ratio per 1,000 of population 

per annum 
Average of 6 years (two months) 
Present season (two months) 







Even these figures, which we know to be imder the truth, show 
an appalling mortality in the famine districts during December and 
January. I have no reason to suppose that the state of things here 
indicated has much improved in February and March. But in our 
municipal towns, or in some of them at least, within the £unine area, 
death registration is more efficiently managed, and the following 
figures will tend to show the gravity of the famine as exemplified in 
an abnormal death-rate. In Bellary I have long had reason to sup- 
pose that the registration was not properly done, and the returns of 
some of the Bellary municipalities are obviously imperfect. The first 
thing that attracted my attention in connection with the famine, on 
returning to duty in the end of January, was the abnormal death-rate 
amongst certain classes and certain l(X2alities of the Presidency town, 
and I lost no time in drawing the attention of GU)vemment to the con- 
dition of the people, and suggesting measures for combating the great 
destruction of life then going on. While the mortality of the Presi- 
dency town was exaggerated by the influx of starving immigrants, the 
experience of other municipalities shows that throughout the famine 
tract the death-rate has risen out of all proportion to its normal 




vn the Municipalities of the Famine Districts, 

























Registered Deatlis. 

•o ts 


»ga (Dec. 












f _2 • Jan. 

si i**"- 

1 g ( 1876 Dec. 


































1 3 1877Jan 












^1 1 1877 Feb. 
Ratio per 1,000 












of population 












per annum 

Average of 6 


years (8 













Present season 
(3 months) 

\ 106-5 

^ 1 











The &inine so far has ab-eady fallen very heavily on the old, the 
weakly constitutioned, and young children. It is still ' weeding out ' 
from our lahouring classes a large number of victims, and in consider- 
ation of the fact that diseased conditions dependent on insufficient food 
follow vMvny months after tlie cattse has passed away, I apprehend 
that a heavy and unusual mortality will continue, even after the 
period of drought and dearth of food has ended. 

The survivors of the famine will be the strongest and best fitted 
of their race to continue the species, and when plenty again blesses the 
land, they will produce a vigorous race of descendants ; but I think 
there can be no reasonable doubt that this food deficiency has fisillen 
very heavily upon the ordinary agricultural labouring poor, and that 
many years must elapse before they will have made up the niunbers 
who have fallen, and are still falling, victims to the combined famine 
and pestilence now in our midst. I have in former reports called at- 
tention to the fact, that the children bom of famine-stricken mothers 
are nothing but skin and bone. My recent experience goes to show 
that the birth-rate is seriously diminishing, and that pregnancy 
amongst the distressed women is becoming a rare condition. 

It is on these grounds that I cannot subscribe to the pleasing and 
hopeful telegrams in which Sir Richard Temple summarises the weekly 
progress of events for the benefit of the Home Government and the 


English people. There are two sides to every picture. Sir Bichard 
Temple, like a skilful general commanding in battle, naturally fixes 
his attention on the main points of attack and defence, and so long 
as these are safe, his main work is accomplished. 

I, on the other hand, as a public health official whose special duty 
is to preserve life, am bound to listen to the cries of the wounded, and 
to note in what way the combatants suffer, and I should be wanting 
in my duty to myself and to the Government I serve, if I failed to 
state the facts coming to my knowledge, and the deduction di-awn from 
those facts. 

A few days before leaving the Presidency of Madras 
to assume the governorship of Bombay, Sir Richard 
Temple replied to Dr. Cornish's letter in a minute 
dated Cuddalore, April 18. It was comparatively brief, 
and was confined to a few points upon which he held 
exactly opposite opinions to Dr. Cornish. Having 
regard to the importance of the subject, Sir Richard 
refrained from * making the objections which might 
ordinarily be made to the tone of some parts of the 
Sanitary Commissioner's minute as an official paper.' 

Sir Richard accepted the Sanitary Commissioner's 
assurances that the ' Madras Manual of Hygiene ' was 
wrong on the point upon which the Delegate had rested. 
He proceeded to indicate a weakness in the argument 
of Dr. Cornish. Sir Richard says : — * It is not neces- 
sary, however, to pursue this point, or any such like 
points, because I understand that the medico-chemical 
theories upon which the Sanitary Commissioner of 
Madras seems still to rely are not implicitly accepted by 
the highest sanitary authorities in India, and do. not 
entirely coincide with the newest development of scien- 
tific thought regarding the carbonaceous and nitroge- 
nous elements necessary for the nutrition of the human 
fi^me. Nor is it practically necessary to discuss further 
the Sanitary Commissioner's opinion regarding the suf- 
ficiency or otherwise of the reduced wage, because in his 

208 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

present minute he admits that, as now applied, it is suf- 
ficient. His previous objections appear to have been 
diminished by the granting of the wage on Sundays as 
well as week days, and by the granting of a small 
allowance for the support of the young children of per- 
sons employed on the works. I had myself always 
contemplated that the reduced wage should be allowed 
on Sundays. As regards the very young children, their 
case did not at first suggest itself for consideration, as 
all young children from seven years and upwards were 
admitted to relief. But as soon as the case of the children 
under seven years of age was brought to my notice, 
I recommended that they also should receive a small 
allowance. I found, however, that this had been already 
ordered by the Madras Government/ 

On the main point of the sufficiency of the rate to 
support labourers on works, Sir Richard Temple 
would not give way. He had his own observation to 
go by. Seeing is believing. Consequently, he re- 
marks: * Though I do not undertake to pronounce any 
opinion upon a medico-chemical point, yet I do under- 
take to say whether thousands of relief labourers in- 
spected by me are physically in fair working condition 
or not. And I adhere to the opinion previously ex- 
pressed, that the many gangs which I inspected working 
on the reduced wage were in such condition, regard 
being had to the condition of such persons in ordinary 
times. In this opinion I was confirmed by the expe- 
rienced medical officer on my staflF who had seen the 
realities of famine in other parts of India. But in 
order that no doubt might remain upon the point, I 
asked for and obtained the opinion of the Sanitary 
Conomaissioner with the Government of India. And 
after inspecting in different parts of the country some 
35,000 relief labourers, he pronounced them to be, with 


some individual exceptions, in fair condition. This, 
then, is the true test of the insufficiency or otherwise of 
the reduced wage, to which I have always appealed, and 
still appeal. According to this test the wage appears 
to be sufficient at present. If at any time any marked 
deterioration of the physical condition were to indicate 
that the reduced wage is insufficient, then I shall be the 
first to make a revised recommendation/ 

Sir Richard drew a distinction between those em- 
ployed on works and those in relief camps. He said : 
* Inferences deduced from the condition of the reci- 
pients of gratuitous relief are wholly irrelevant if 
attempted to be applied to the conditions of relief 
labom*ers. If, unhappily, there be mortality among 
the inmates of relief camps, it by no means follows that 
there is any mortality among relief labourers. In point 
of fact there is no mortality among relief labourers 
except from cholera, small-pox, or other diseases, and 
when sometimes cholera has stricken and dispersed 
large gangs of relief labourers, there has never been 
any reason to suppose that the scourge arose from want 
of food. Again, if notwithstanding scientifically ar- 
ranged diets the condition of the inmates of relief 
camps continues bad, no amelioration whatever could 
be afforded by raising the wages of relief labourers, who 
are a totally different class. These poor inmates have 
never gone to relief works at all.^ Indeed the very 
reason of their admission to the relief camps is this, that 
they are incapable of going to relief works. They are 
diseased or infirm, or being indisposed to work have 
wandered about, or, passing by means of relief close at 
home, have wandered to a distance. Being thus help- 
less for one reason or another, they are picked up and 

* This was shown to he entirely incorrect. Thousands went from 
works to camps, either immediately, or after an intezyal of starring at home. 


210 THE 1-LB. RATION. 


taken care of; bat when picked up they toe often 
beyond the reach of human aid. No analogy, there- 
fore, drawn from these persons can possibly be appli- 
cable to relief labourers, and to mention the two cases 
with any sort of parallelism and in any kind of connec- 
tion, would be to produce confusion of ideas and other 
misapprehension. If indeed persons who were pale on 
being admitted to relief works were to become thinner 
and thinner and weaker and weaker, till at last they had 
to be drafted off to gratuitous relief camps as unfit to 
work, then that would be a reason for considering the 
wages, but this is just what has not occurred, and is not 
occurring. If I saw or knew of any signs of it occur- 
ring, then I should be the first to move. Many relief 
labourers indeed have left the works of their own 
accord, not so much, however, because the wage was 
reduced, but rather because task-work was enforced, or 
because the scene of labour was removed to a distance 
firom their homes.' 

With this the wordy warfere between the Delegate 
of the Government of India and the Sanitary Commis- 
sioner of Madras came to an end.^ 

1 On more careful examination of the papers I find that the Goyemment 
of Madras asked Dr. Oomiah to reply to one of the paragraphs of Sir Richard 
Temple's minute (the last passage quoted above). The Sanitary Oonmuasioner 
did so, and quoted the Delegate's own words and instanced his own acts in 
sending people from works to relief camps as the last thing Sir Richard 
Temple did in the Madras Presidency. 





Afteb the scale of wages prescribed in the Government 
order of January 31 had been in operation six weeks, 
the Madras authorities had before them a mass of papers 
from district officers, which, in their opinion, proved 
that the wage was insufficient to maintain, in all cases, 
the condition of people working on relief works, while 
their Sanitary Commissioner considered the sustenance 
afforded thereby generally insufficient. Further, from 
a letter written by the secretary (Mr. C. E. Bernard, 
C.S.I.), to Sir Richard Temple regarding the Delegate's 
classification of gangs, it appeared that out of 94,250 
persons inspected in the Madras Presidency, 28,850 were 
reported as middling, and 15,800 as indifferent, while 
of the gangs inspected in other provinces, numbering 
3,100, 1,000 were reported as indifferent. It further 
appeared that in Mysore a larger food allowance per 
head than was permitted for Madras had been authorised. 
His Grace the Governor in Council carefully considered 
the papers proving the above statements, and also had 
the advantage of conferring with Sir Richard Temple 
thereon; he resolved to wait reports from other districts 
as weU as further reports from the Coimbatore and Cud- 
dapah districts, before finally deciding on the question of 
the adequacy or otherwise of the scale of allowances 
laid down in the Government order already quoted. 

p 2 

212 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

There was, however, no doubt, in the opmion of his 
Grace in Council, from a perusal of the reports already 
received, as well as from the personal observations of 
members of the Government,, that many persons were 
to be found in gangs who were failing in strength 
from insufficient nourishment or from other causes. 
This might arise fix)m their having been previously 
weakened by insufficient or bad food before coming to 
the works, or from their having been in bad health ; or, 
again, from the task of work exacted from them being 
too heavy, having regard to the sustenance given. His 
Grace in Council therefore directed the special attention 
of all collectors and di^asional officers to those predispos- 
ing causes. Any persons found in working gangs whose 
appearance indicated failing condition were to be at once 
withdrawn from such gangs and given some lighter 
work, or if, on any large work, such persons were found to 
be numerous and no relief camp was sufficiently near , they 
were to be placed together in a special gang and given 
such additional allowance as might be found necessary to 
maintain their health and strength. Where the members 
of a gang generally showed signs of physical deteriora- 
tion, it might indicate that the work had been too great, 
the allowance of food too small, or possibly that they 
had not received the full benefit of the allowance granted, 
either in consequence of malpractices on the part of 
maistries and overseers, or because they had dependents 
living upon them, and sharing their bare subsistence 
allowance, whose wants should have been discovered 
and relieved, if necessary, by the village officers. The 
order continued : — ' In case of children on works, who 
are found to be habitually weak or exhausted at the 
end of the day, it may be necessary either to give them 
increased nourishment, to reduce their work, or to re- 
lieve them altogether, if under ten years of age, of work 


as a test. His Grace the Governor in Council cannot 
too strongly impress upon all divisional and relief 
officers the importance of the most vigilant attention 
to the circumstances of the people on relief works and 
in the villages under their charge. The success of any 
measures devised for the relief of present distress will 
mainly depend upon the personal exertions and vigilance 
of local officers, and the completeness of their detailed 
arrangements. One point especially must never be 
overlooked, but which has, it is feared, not received 
sufficient attention in some places, namely, the regularity 
and frequency of payments of wages.' 

This order was communicated to all collectors and 
relief officers, and proved but the presage of another 
order issued six weeks later, doing away with the 1-lb 
ration altogether. 

The reports from some of the officers were most ad- 
verse to the scale recommended by Sir Richard Temple. 
A selection from them may be made as follows : — 

With reference to G. O. No. 329, of January 31, 1877, Mr. W. 
H. Glenny has the honour to say that, according to his own observa- 
tions, and that of the officers assisting him, he . does not think the 
physical condition of the people on relief has deteriorated in con- 
sequence of the reduction of wages. The gangs now, it is true, present 
a far poorer appearance than they did a month ago. But he conceives 
that this is owing to the elimination of persons of conspicuously well- 
noiuished physique. 

On Mai^ch 21 I inspected about 1,500 coolies employed in making 
a road towards the Mysore frontier to meet a road in course of con- 
struction there leading from Colar to MuddanapuUy and Punganur. 
There were several gangs of Brinjaries and many Mussulmans em- 
ployed. Of the 1,500 coolies, Mr. Clerk and myself picked out 250, 
or 16 per cent., who, in our judgment, were in very bad condition, and 
many of them more fitted for a relief camp than for labtiur on relief 
wages. There were about 50 men and perhaps 30 women out of the 
whole number in good muscular condition. The children were nearly 
all feeble, emaciated, and anaemic. The young girls who, from their 
ages, should have been women, were arrested in their development, 

214 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

and showing no signs of puberty. A few women brought their infants 
with them to the works, and these youngsters were literally starving 
for want of nourishing breast-milk. — Dr. Cornish. 

If, as the famine officers believe here (Bellary district), the able- 
bodied people have mostly other means of support than the subsistence 
wage, it is clear that their present physical condition is no guide to na 
in determining the point of the sufficiency of the wage. I am, how- 
ever, inclined to the view that there has been a gradual deterioration 
in the physical condition of the people, and that the proportion of 
those who are weakly and emaciated must be fast increasing. I judge 
BO from the condition of the labouring gangs which are considered 
' able-bodied,' and note the almost complete absence of redundant flesh 
among them, and from the admitted fact, that, as the able-bodied are 
discharged from the road gangs, their places are taken by people who 
are physically reduced. I note, too, with some apprehension, the fact 
that, in the town of Bellary itself more than 10 per cent, of its popu- 
lation is receiving some sort of relief in the shape of partial meals of 
cooked food. It may be that this relief is abused to some extent, but 
on this point the local committees will hereafter report. Meanwhile, 
the applicants for relief amongst the town poor are increasing every 
day. But, besides the town poor, I saw yesterday at the feeding house 
in Bruce Pettah, more than 800 men, women, and children of the im- 
migrant population who came and waited patiently for hours in expec- 
tation of getting a meal of cooked food. Amongst these were some ter- 
rible pictures of emaciation and misery, and at the least there were more 
than 50 children amongst them, who, if not taken into some home, and 
fed and nursed, will assut*edly die within a short time. — Dr. Cornish. 

There is no doubt that the labouring classes, as a rule, have fiiUen 
ofl* greatly in condition within the last few months, and it must be re- 
membered that we see n:one of the worst cases of destitution in the 
streets. All such cases are at once sent either to hospital or to the 
relief camps by inspectors who patrol the town for the purpose ; but 
after all this weeding out, I can say most decidedly that the people I 
meet now in the streets are much thinner and poorer-looking in eveiy 
way than those I saw six months ago, when even the poorest mingled 
in the streets. — Surgeon-Major A. E. M. Ross, NeUore. 

I have the honour to report that I have ordered the foUowiug 
rates to be paid to relief labourers from Monday, April 23, except in 
the town of Adoni, where the existing scale will be adhered to : — 

AVcnnen * annas \ rp^ inefficient gangs for seven days. 

Infante". *. ^' \) T<^ o""*^"^^ ^"^ for six days. 


The reasons are, to meet increased pressure now visible in the 
condition of the labourers themselves. I have inspected carefully 
24,000 of them within the week. Captain Hamilton has seen all the re- 
mainder, and agrees with me that the time for some relaxation has come. 

This pressure is chiefly due to the advancing season and the time 
the people have been on the works. But there are other causes. The 
price of grain h«« risen and 18 rising, and Bometimee it knot easy to 
get on the remoter works, while at places distant from Adoni the 
price fluctuates greatly. The evening storms which now frequently 
occur interrupt payments and cause much inconvenience to the 
labourers camped on the roads. Their clothes are getting very ragged. 
The great heat, at a time when generally they are not compelled to 
work, is trying ; and the recruiting for NeUore has undoubtedly 
pressed very severely on the adult male labourers. 

In fact, it is among the latter that the change is visible, and this 
accounts for the apparent disproportion in the new rates. The women 
still look much as before, as no direct pressure has been put on them 
to go to Nellore. Many of them are in excellent condition, sleek and 
&t. This cannot be said of any of the men. 

I maintain the old scale at Adoni, as it is properly only a dep6t to 
catch up persons who want work. There is a great tendency amongst 
the labourers to gravitate thither, and this can be best met by making 
outside works more attractive. Moreover, at Adoni grain is cheapest, 
and there is always shelter. — W. B. Oldham, B.C.S. 

Here in Alur, however, I agree with Mr. Maltby in thinking 
that the people are decidedly thinner than they were. 

I have thought it necessary, in anticipation of your sanction, to 
raise the rates in Alur taluk from 23rd instant by 3 pies all round. — 
W. H. Glenny. 

With reference to G. O. No. 1,088, dated the 15th ultimo, I 
have the honour to forward a copy of a letter No. 48, dated the 21fet 
instant, from Mr. Oldham, in charge of the Adoni taluk, reporting 
that he has raised the wages of men, women, and children to 2 annas, 
1^ annas, and 1 anna respectively. 

I also inclose copy of paragraphs 2 and 4 of letter No. 138, dated 
20th instant, from the sub-collector, that he has raised the wages in 
the Alur taluk 3 pies all round. 

2. I quite agree with them as to the necessity for this ; a time of 
great pressure has arrived. The heat of the weather is very severe 
and the strength of the labourers is decreasing in consequence (with 
the bare subsistence given them). 

3. But what I would most earnestly request is this : that Govern- 

216 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

ment should be moved to allow this higher scale of wages everywhere 
in the district, at least during the ensuing month. Uniformity ib 
most desirable, and the necessity is the same everywhere, for prices 
are rising. — J. H. Master, Collector of BeUa/ry, 

Judging from, the present physical condition of the labourers 
generally, I think that they are failing in health and ^pdling off in 
strength. Many who were working with pick axes a few weeks ago 
are now unable to use them, and they complain of debility, which 
their reduced and decaying forms and himgry appearance clearly 
indicate. I have seen some, between thirty and thirty-five, so feeble 
as to reqidre a support to walk, and I learnt that they were a few 
days back in good health and were working on relief works for wages, 
but are now succumbing to inadequate food and defective nourishment. 

Every labourer honestly complains of low wages and earnestly 
solicits an increase ; and their cry that they are ill-fed and are 
starving and becoming feeble day by day is loud and general in every 
gang that I have seen. From careful observation and frequent and 
varied tests I am convinced that the mere individual subsistence 
allowance that we now give them as wages is barely sufficient for a 
single meal in these hard, hot days when they have to work under 
the burning sun. — C. Ra.ghava Row, Deputy Collector. 

In continuation of my letter No. 218, of April 8, and with refer- 
ence to your foot-note to G. O. No. 757, of March 1, I have the 
honour to report, for your information, that since my arrival at 
Kottoor, Kudligi taluk, I have almost every day waiched the manner 
in which the large crowds of the relief labourers on the several works 
ab^ut this place are working. No less than 2,080 coolies have come 
under my observation, not mere inspection, and I must say that the 
result has not been encouraging. 

The female coolies outnumber the male beyond all proportion, 
and the bulk of them are of low physique, many adults and 
broods of young children looking pale and lank. The grown-up 
women, though of middle age, and some of their infants strolling 
about the place, pass for miserable moving skeletons. The mothers 
complain that the \ anna allowed to each of the children is not 
enough to buy sufficient nourishment for it, the pittance paid to 
themselves scarcely sufficing to buy them a good day's meal. Con- 
sidering therefore the amount of exhaustion resulting from exposure 
to the burning sun of April and May, and the discouraging indica- 
tions of the process of wastage among the relief labourers, I would 
respectfully suggest a gradual increase in the present rate of wages, 
until such a time as we could detect a change for the better in their 


phjBique. In maJdng this suggestion for your oonsidei'ation I have 
not lost sight of the importance of the difference to the treasury that 
would result from having to ' make the increase^in the rates to over a 
lakh and a quarter of the labourers in my division,' but I feel bound to 
do so at any risk in furtherance of the liberal policy of Government 
declared in the Grovemment order under reference. — Murugeseh 
Mudaliyab) Dejputy Collector, 

The weavers, on the whole, of whom there were many on this 
road, appeared to be the feeblest people amongst the gangs. 
Guinea-worm was very prevalent, and all cleusses of these gangs 
showed the tendency to scurvy indicated by swollen, spongy, and 
bleeding gums. 

I learnt from Mr. Oldham that it has not been the practice 
hitherto in this taluk to pay the coolies for Sundays. In the opinion 
of this gentleman and Capt. Hamilton, there has been a perceptible 
change for the worse in the condition of the gangs of late, so much so 
that Mr. Oldham had determined on raising the rates from the be- 
ginning of the week on his own responsibility. Mr. Oldham had 
come to this decision without any communication with me on the sub- 
ject, and stated that consideiing the prices of food and the condition of 
the people, he deemed an increase of wage to be necessary. I left 
Adoni on Monday afternoon for Goondacul. 

At Goondacul I met Mr. Glenny, the sub-collector of the district, 
and Lieutenant Wilson, on famine works, and as the Honourable Sir 
Kichard Temple was expected to arrive during the night, the inspec- 
tion of gangs at Goondacul was deferred until next morning. 

Goondacul. — On the morning of the 24th instant I accompanied 
Sir Kichard Temple in the inspection of a gang of about 1,000 coolies 
at Goondacul ; of these people 180 were men, and the rest women and 

Of the 180 men present. Sir Eichard Temple selected 41 (or more 
than 22 per cent.) as unfit for work, and directed that they should be 
fed at the neighbouring reUef house. In looking over the remainder, 
I noticed eighteen others, who, in my judgment, were out of condition 
and unfit for hard work, though equal perhaps to a slight exertion. 

It is not a little remarkable that Dr. Harvey, the private surgeon 
to Sir Eichard Temple, in his memorandum published in the Gazette 
of India of April 14, page 993, should have noticed, on February 22, 
that the Goondacul gangs were the best he had seen. The majority of 
the Goondacul people, he observes, ' belonged to a class above the lowest, 
and were almost without exception in very fine condition, looking 
as though they had undergone no suffering, nor ever missed a meal.' 

218 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

With regard to the foi'ty-one men selected by Sir Eichard Temple 
as too weak for work, it was asoertamed that twelve of them had 
recently come upon the works, and the remainder had been from two 
to five months employed in the gangs. It was certain, therefore, that 
twenty-nine of the number had been living for some time on the re- 
duced wages, and as Dr. Harvey specially comments on the fine 
physique of the Goondacul gangs on Februaiy 22, it would seem to 
follow that two months of reduced wages had produced the de- 
terioration observed and commented on by Sir Bichard Temple on 
April 24. 

The women and children in these gangs fisir outnumbered the 
men. A few women were selected by Sir Bichard Temple as unfit 
for work, and sent to a relief house. I noticed that many of the 
women were thin and worn, and others ansemic, and I should have 
selected from fifteen to twenty per cent, of them as below their normal 
condition. The tendency to a cachetic condition of the gums was 
noticed in these gangs also. — Dr. Cornish. 

In Government Order May 5, 1877, No. 1,648, it is laid down 
that care is to be taken that no able-bodied coolies are to be retained 
in the camp. In this district, where relief works are available for 
the demand of labour, a famine camp thus becomes a large hospital 
where men reduced by starvation are fed and brought to a proper condi- 
tion to enable them to work, which accomplished, they are discharged. 

The diet laid down in the Government Order referred to is 
literally a subsistence diet, one upon which existence might be 
held for a prolonged period, but certainly not one upon which persons 
reduced by starvation could be expected to improve. Indeed, the 
diet conveys a sufficient amount of carbonaceous and nitrogenous 
material, but it has no provision for the conveyance of many salts 
which are equally essential for the due maintenance of health, the 
chief of which may be noted as the common adjunct of sodic chloride. 
Fresh vegetables and fatly matters are also absent. Without the 
former amongst people already reduced below the standard of health, 
infallibly scorbutic symptoms will rapidly become added to those of 
starvation, and the camp will become decimated by the most intract- 
able forms of dysenteiy and diarrhoea. 

Doubtiess in camps in the open district vegetable matters would 
be supplied by the natives themselves by finding edible roots, <kc., but 
here, in the midst of a large city, the camp inhabitants naturally 
diffuse themselves around the bazaars imploring the additional neces- 
saries to this diet. — Surgeon W. G. King, M,B, 

I made enquiries and questioned many of the people, but I saw 


and heard of no caae of their eating leaves, and everyone said that he 
or she had been properly paid. I do not think that famine coolies in 
these parts, though they may give the head oooly or maistry the 
cnstomary ' dustoori ' in order to have their names entered upon the 
rolls, allow themselves to be defrauded of their wages. They are 
open-mouthed enough in their complaints, but I have found that when 
anything was said against the head coolies or maistries, it was gene- 
rally either that they worked the people up to their allotted tasks, 
struck individuals off the roll for being constantly absent, or else 
refused to enter children in a class higher than they should be. Mr. 
Cox, who understands and speaks Telugu remarkably well, and who is 
very ready to hear and patient in investigating every complaint, 
no matter how petty, has not been able to find any cases of the coolies 
having been paid lees than was due to them. I have not the slightest 
moral doubt, nor has he, that Government has been considerably 
defrauded as regards the number of children receiving 3 pies per diem. 
Some cases of this brought forward by the assistant &mine officer, 
Mr. Horden, are now under investigation, but I fear, from what I 
saw, that nothing can be made of them from a magisterial point of 

Having read with much interest the remarks made by Dr. Cornish 
in the various reports submitted by him to Government, I have been 
much struck with their correctness. The £BLmine is evidently telling, 
and telling heavily, upon the old and very young. The former are, 
with very rare exceptions, becoming shrivelled, flabby, and haggard 
in appearance, and the girls and boys who have arrived at the point 
of puberty show, in their faces and limbs, all the signs of insufficient 
feeding. They are * spindly,' their arms are thin and flabby, their legs 
are wanting in flesh, the knee-joints, in the case of the boys, and of 
such girls who, having tucked their clothes up to work, allowed of my 
seeing their knees, stand out like knobs, and the iosides of the thighs 
are flattened and loose. The busts of the girls have not filled out, 
and the chests of the boys show the bones, and they mostly tie them- 
selves tightly round the waist, producing an unnatural and pu% 
appearance of the abdomen. Their skins, instead of being of a healthy 
smooth brown, have a nasty yellowish cast, and are fr*equently dull in 
colour. The infant population, i.e., the sucking children, are very 
much reduced, in some cases almost skeletons; their arms are like 
sticks, their ribs show distinctly, and their buttocks are perfectly flat ; 
their legs are like their arms. At Forumamilla, the larger part of 
the children in arms were in this state or verging upon it. The pay- 
ment of three pies for these can do no good. This sum will not pro- 
vide the mother with a sufficiently increased supply of food to find 

220 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

milk for her little one. The nursing women must either have a special 
and considerably increased allowance, or the in£uits must die. This 
is a point upon which I have not the slightest doubt. I have 
questioned several women as to the reason of their children being in 
the state that I have described, and the answer has invariably been 
<I have little or nothing for it.' The truth of this was apparent 

The Board know that I am not a sensational writer. I am simply 
stating ieuctSy and the correctness of these can be proved if Grovei-nment 
will send the inspecting medical officer just appointed to this district 
to visit the northern portion of the Budwail taluk. — F. J. Price, 
Acting Collector of Ctcddapah, 


The falling off among these coolies and among those at Kodoor 
was plainly the result of continued payment at the lowei- rate (Scale 2), 
and the falling off has been i-endered more rapid of late by the 
exhaustion of dry grains in the local markets. Nothing but rice is 
now obtainable, and much of this is very indifferent in quality. A 
strict watch is, however, now kept by the police to prevent the sale 
of any which appears to be absolutely unfit for food. Still, I believe 
some such is secretly sold. A few days ago the tahsildar seized five 
bags at Rajampet (my present camp) which were utterly unfit for food 
iBJid almost rotten from exposure to wet. — K. S. Benson. 

Having on May 8, while inspecting the road from Sundupalli to 
Rayaveram, mustered and examined the coolies on it, I beg to re|X>rt 
as follows on the condition of the people there. I counted 752 coolies 
altogether in 16 gangs; of these 58 were old and 168 weak; of the 
weak ones, several old. 

I also observed about 70 young children. A few looked plump, 
but these were rare objects, most of the little ones being ill-fed ; some 
of them looked pale and had that peevish look resulting from priva- 
tion. One case in particular I made a note of : — ^A woman had three 
children, none of them being fit to work; she herself got 1 anna 
4 pies a day, the children together 9 pies, making a total of 2 annas 
1 pie a day. Hice was sold at SundupalU shandy on the 7th at 
4 seers per rupee ; it was slightly cheaper the week before. With her 
daily income the woman could not have got quite half a seer, or a very 
small fraction over 20 ounces (3^ ollocks) given to an adult pauper in 
the relief camp, who gets extras besides ; the woman and children, I 
need hardly remark, were half-starved. Even if the woman had got 
the higher rate of 1 anna 5 pies, her condition would hardly be better. 
This may be taken as an individual case, but I am certain there must 
be many families in the same condition. The wonder is that the relief 
camp has not a larger number in it than it has. 


That these low rates are telling much upon the condition of the 
pLople is clear ; how much longer the coolies can hold out on them is 
a matter depending entirely on each indiyidual's personal strength. — 
E. V. Beeby. 

Mr. Money tells me that some of his superintendents are measur- 
ing the same gangs at stated intervals, and that all agree that the 
oooHes are falling off. — J. D. Gribble. 

Adverting to paragraph 6 of G. O. dated January 31 last, No. 329, 
Financial Department, I have the honour to report on the physical 
condition of the coolies employed on relief-works in this district during 
the week ending Saturday, May 5. 

The special relief officer says : * The people who came under my 
notice as labourers in this district on the reduced scale of wage are 
still falling off; and it will be unnecessary that I should furnish any 
further weekly report on this subject, as I am fully convinced, and no 
further experience can alter this conviction, that the reduced scale of 
wage is insufficient to provide the labourer with the necessary food to 
keep up his physical condition and at the same time do any work.' 

The deputy collector in charge of the Saidapet taluk has observed 
no changes, but the officers in charge of relief works in the TriveUore 
taluk state that there has been a slight deterioration in the physical 
condition of the coolies owing to the insufficiency of the scale of wages, 
but partly to the excessive heat of the weather. — R. W. Barlow, 
Collector of Chingleput. 

On the morning of April 131 visited some gangs of labourers em- 
ployed in collecting material for the repair of the Gooty road, about 
six or seven miles out from Bellaiy. There have been, until recently, 
some 6,000 or 7,000 persons employed on this road. On the morning 
of my inspection I examined nearly 3,000 labourers and children. 

Many changes have been going on in these gangs, and only the 
day before my visit about 500 were selected as able-bodied and re- 
quested to go to Nellore. Some of these, however, had not left the 
works, and have since been given the option of transferring their' 
services to the new railway works in progress within the district. 

From my note-book I sae that we examined 964 men, 1,189 
women, and 244 working boys and girls. From 300 to 400 non- 
working children were also inspected. 

Condition of the Men, — ^The men are generally spare of flesh, 
though naturally broad-chested, well-built, and muscular. Guinea- 
worm was prevalent amongst them ; many were anaemic and out of 
condition, and had spongy gums, and pale creamy tongues were 
more frequently present than absent in all the men of the gangs. Out 
of the 964 men, 169 were noted as being feeble, emaciated, and out of 

222 THE 1-LB. KATION. 

condition, or aboat 17 per cent, of the whole. Some of these were 
old, as well as enfeebled by privation. 

Women. — Of 1,189 women examined, 245, or 20 per cent, of 
the whole, were noted as in weak health and emaciated more than 
osuaL The women of this part of the country are mostly tall and 
spare of flesh, and I hardly saw one really stout woman amongst them. 
Many of them, besides the 20 per cent, above noted as iu a reduced 
condition, were pale, anaemic, and evidently unhealthy, as shown by 
the condition of their tongues and spongy unhealthy gums. 

Chiidren. — The working children, to the number of 244, were 
fidrly well nourished, and I did not see many that were emaciated, 
but, looking at their gums and tongues, it was clear that their health 
was generally low ; more than half of the children had spongy and 
discoloured gums. 

The non-working children, as r^ards the elder ones, were pretty 
well taken care of, but the babies in arms, in considerable proportion, . 
showed that they were slowly starving from defective breast-milk of 
the mothers. 

The labourers on this road, Mr. Howe informed me, were fiurly 
representative of the able-bodied gangs in the district. 

I have already alluded to the prevalence amongst these gangs 
of some of the earliest symptoms of scurvy. * Land scurvy ' has 
been known to prevail in India over extensive tracts of country 
during seasons of scarcity and famine. The opportunities, however, 
for studying the Eiymptoms and nature of the disease of late years 
have not been taken advantage of, and very little is known about it. 
It would seem to be due, as in the case of sea scurvy, to some extent 
to the absence of fresh vegetables and acid vegetable juices and fruits 
in the diet of the people. The seasons that are noted for scanty pro- 
duction of grain and cereals are remarkable also for the dearth of 
fruits and green vegetables, which in ordinaiy seasons enter so 
largely into the dietary of the people. To what extent the population 
have undergone privation in this particular we shall never know, but 
a significant &ct within my own experience may not be out of place 
in illustration. In travelling fr-om Yellore to Cuddapah across 
conntiy I was unable to buy a lime in any village or town bazaar 
that I passed through. Now as in ordinary times lime juice is used 
by every native in the preparation of his curry, it must be evident 
that the condition of the people in regard to anti-scorbutic fruits 
and vegetables must have changed very much for the worse. — ^Db. 

A BOMBAY journalist's OPINION. 223 

Times of India, March 12, 1877. 

.... Wliat has been done in the Bombay Presideni^ in this way, 
where also this leductiony which is likely to prove so costly, was 
introduced as an experiment 1 Literally nothing. A few days after 
the introduction of the new scale we had just that kind of cheerful 
assertion from Dr. Hewlett about the ^ remarkably good health ' of the 
labourer which the compassionate physician gives on leaving the room 
of a dying patient. As the people in the works sleep on the roadside 
or in pits, have no shelter by day or night, are clothed in rags, and 
live, but only the strongest of them, on 16 oz. of grain per diem, it 
was so difficult to see why they should be remarkably healthy, that 
Dr. Hewlett's assertions did as little harm as good. But for six 
weeks he has been strangely silent, and we have been afforded no 
mortuary returns save those for cholera. 

We have now shown what Dr. Cornish, the adviser of the Madras 
Government on public health questions, thinks of the new scale of 
famine relief. Dr. Hewlett, the adviser of the Bombay Government, 
is on a journey we know ; peradventure he sleepeth, with ee£fy and 
approving dreams of the new policy, and for anything like a pro- 
fessional opinion we have no one else to look to but Dr. Weir, health 
officer of the city, not the Presidency. According to the communica- 
tion from Dr. Weir, read at the town council meeting, the condition 
of the city promises to be bad enough, simply on account of the 
exodus from the £Eunine-stricken districts which it were folly not to 
attribute to the reduction of wages. So long as the old daily wage of 
two annas was maintained in the districts, there was no influx into 
Bombay, which is too &r away from the famine to be a goal for any 
but men seeking for food in real earnest. Now, Dr. Weir says, there 
are 10,000 of those unfortunate people who have arrived from Foona 
and Sholapur, * and an increasing number are coming in every day.' 
Sir Frank Souter, the man of all others in a position to speak, said he 
' was certain that people were flocking in from all parts, and con- 
sidered their condition should be promptly looked to.' Dr. Blaney, 
whose long experience has given him a wide knowledge of the Bombay 
poor, declared the evil to be quite as serious as Dr. Weir reported. 
* The increase of mortality was not ten or twelve per cent., but already 
fifty, sixty, or seventy per cent, among the Bombay poor.' Colonel 
Hancock also bore testimony that ' the numbers were increasing every 
day.' Dr. Weir's account of the condition of the famine-stricken 
people is most pitiable, and is singularly in accord with that of Dr. 
Cornish in Madras : — ' Exhausted by travel, and without hope, they 
are smitten by every breath of disease, and even now the mortality 

224 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

from fever amongst them has advanced the usual death-rate of Uiis 
city to an apparently alarming height. . . . Fever is the disease most 
fittal, and the unusual atmospheric conditions have been strangely 
favourable to its development. Famine-stricken people, overwhelmed 
by despair, are little capable of resisting the chills of this season ; and 
I cannot conceal from myself that the damp of the monsoon will prove 
terribly fatal and destructive to those now seeking refuge in this 

The only witnesses to be cited on the other side, 
so far as the Presidency of Madras is concerned, are 
Surgeon-Major S. C. Townsend, officiating sanitary 
commissioner ydth the Government of India, and Mr. 
Lyon, of Bombay. The former visited the people on 
relief works near railway stations and inspected them; 
the latter dealt with the question mainly from a theo- 
retical point of view.^ Sir Richard Temple wrote a 
covering minute to be published with Dr. Townsend's 
report. In that minute he pointed out that the views 
of the Sanitary Commissioner of the Government of 
India on this important matter coincided with his own, 
which had been formed after inspecting nearly 200,000 
people under relief in Southern India. Sir Richard, 
therefore, recommended the adoption of the opinion of 
Dr. Townsend, to the effect that there were not as yet 
any sufficient grounds whatever for any general raising 
of the relief wage rates in the Madras Presidency. 

Dr. Townsend, in his report, recapitulates at length 
the history of the various rations tried in the Madras 
Presidency, and proceeds: — 

The point in question cannot, in my opinion, be decided on phy- 
siological grounds. It is true that some years ago the doctrine on the 
subject was, that muscular exertion entailed waste of muscular tissue, 
and that in order to compensate this waste, food containing nitro- 
genous piindples must be supplied in proportion to the labour under- 
gone; but later investigations have, I believe, tended greatly to modify 

> I am informed that Mr. Lyon never saw a famine cooly in his life. 

DR. townsend's report. 225 

tliis teaching, and certainly at tbe preBent time there is no theory on 
the suhject so generally accepted or founded on data so incontrovertible 
that an economic question involving the expenditure of large sums of 
public money can be decided by it. 

The question of the sufficiency or otherwise of any scale of diet 
can only be decided by observation of its effect on individuals and on 
masses of people, and observations of this kind in a time of scarcity 
like the present, if conducted impartially and without bias towards 
theories, cannot fail to contribute £acts bearing on the question of the 
quantity of food of different kinds that is necessary to support the 
human system under certain conditions, which would be of great 
value, from a scientific point of view, as well as for guidance in the 
conduct of measures of relief in future times. I have no knowledge of 
the population of this Presidency, but considerable experience in other 
provinces leads me to believe that at all times signs of mal-nutrition 
are more or less visible among the power classes of the populations of 
India. ^ A loose and shrivelled skin, a pale and aniemic aspect, and 
emaciation will certainly follow privation and insufficient food ; but 
the same appearances may arise from defective nutrition resulting from 
constitutional debility or disease. Again, when famine presses hard 
on the population, diminutive and emaciated infants become numerous, 
and form one of the most painftd evidences of the prevailing distress ; 
but in the best of times, if any large portion of the poorer classes 
were subjected to inspection, the number of these distressing objects 
would be considerable. Our statistics show that the rate of mortality 
of infants among the population of this country is as high or even 
higher than in the manufacturing districts of England, and it is more 
than probable that the number of women who are unable to nourish 
their infants is as numerous here as in other countries, while it is not 
the habit of the mothers to supplement their own defective supply by 
other food. In short, the scale of living among the population of this 
country is at all times low. Diseases resulting from mal-nutrition are 
common, and the rate of mortality compared with that of other 
countries is very high ; therefore when inspecting masses of people 
collected from the poorer classes with the view of estimating the 
effects of abnormal scarcity among them, a very large allowance must 
be made for what may be called permanent poverty, and which it is 
beyond the power of Government to remove. 

The want of accurate information as to the extent to which the 
people on the relief works possess sources of support other than the 

1 To this the pertiaeot remark was made, ' But the '' poorer classes of 
the populations of India " don't die at the rate of 25 per cent, every year.' 


226 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

daily wage given them, is another obstacle in the way of forming a 
correct estimate of the sufficiency or otherwise of that wage to main- 
tain them in fair condition. Where the gangs are encamped on works 
away from their homes, and where the men are equal to or outnumber 
the women, it is probable that the majority are dependent solely on 
the wages they earn ; but when the works are near the larger towns 
and the gangs are composed to a very large extent of women and 
children, it may be assumed that the men are earning wages in some 
form elsewhere, and that the earnings of the women and children are 
simply accessory to the ordinary means of support. On the other 
hand, enquiry will often elicit the fact that individuals on the works 
are supporting with their earnings a child or relation at home besides 

But notwithstanding these difficulties, it is possible by a careful 
scrutiny of large gangs of people in different localities, combined with 
information derived on the spot from the officers who have superin- 
tended the relief measures from the commencement, and have watched 
the condition of the people, to arrive at a fair estimate of the extent 
to which the people have suffered and are suffering from the prevailing 
scarcity of labour and deamess of food, and how far the measures 
adopted for their relief have proved successful. 

The appended notes give the details concerning the several gangs 
that I have inspected in the course of my tour. I will here only 
direct attention to the points more particularly bearing on the question 
of the sufficiency of the reduced rate of wage. The first bodies of 
relief labourers that I inspected were at Sholapur in the Bombay 
Presidency. Here there were two bodies of labourers. A large body 
of upwards of 3,000 employed under the Public Works Department, 
and performing about half the task ordinarily exacted from able-bodied 
labourers. The men were receiving 1| annas, the women 1^, and the 
children | of an anna. Here there was no question as to the suffi- 
ciency of the food. Men, women, and children appeared in good 
condition, and there was no doubt on the part of the officers superin- 
tending the works that the wage was quite sufficient for the support 
of the labourers in health. 

The other body of labourers was employed under the Civil 
authorities, and numbered about 300. A large proportion of them 
were above middle age, and they had come on the works in Januaiy in 
an enfeebled state. Some of these people had improved since they 
came on the works, but as a body they were much lower in condition 
than the gangs under the Public Works Department. The wage 
given was in both instances the same, with the exception that t£e 
men employed on the Civil works received only 1 ^ annas instead of If ; 


in neither case was payment given for Sundays when no work was 
done. The lower condition of the Civil gangs was no doubt due chiefly 
to the circumstance that they had become more reduced before coming 
on the works. The average age of the adults was greater, and it is 
probable that at the best of times they were below the average in 

At Adoni I inspected nearly 13,000 relief labourers, the greater 
majority of whom had been on the reduced rate of wage for above a 
month. The task-work performed was very light, not more than 
yV of the task exacted from a coolie in ordinary times. The largest 
gangs employed on the Yemmogamir road were composed chiefly of 
inhabitants of the town of Adoni ; the other gang contained chiefly 
people belonging to the agricultural population. As a rule, all these 
people were in fair condition, and in the opinion of the relief officer 
they had not deteriorated since the reduced rate of wage had been in 
force. There were of course exceptions, and weakly and feeble people 
were here and there picked out ; but these exceptions consisted of 
persons who had never been in good health and condition, or it was 
found on enquiry that the individuals shared their wages with a child 
or other relative. 

At Bellary I inspected upwards of 10,000 relief labourers. At 
the Hiriyal road, where a large body of 7,500 was employed, the men 
considerably outnumbered the women. Task-work was exacted, and 
if the task was not complete, less wage was given, and the great 
majority were receiving less than the reduced rate. There was, how- 
over, no sickness among them. The number whose appearance called 
for enquiry was very small, and the impoverished appearance of the 
individuals lighted on was usually accounted for in much the same 
way as at Adoni. The relief officer stated that these gangs had im- 
proved greatly in appearance since the works were established, and 
they had certainly not fallen off since the reduced rate of wage had 
come into force. 

In Cuddapah I inspected two bodies of labourers : one numbering 
590, employed close to the town and station, consisted chiefly of the 
inhabitants of the town, and the women greatly outnumbered the 
men ; and several of these women were the wives of syces and other 
servants of Europeans. The daily task exacted was light, and was 
commonly completed. In my opinion these people were in appearance 
little, if at all, below the standai'd of health common in the town 
populations of this country. Some were, no doubt, thin and ansemic, 
but the number was small, and in the majority of these cases the in- 
dividuals had only lately come on the works or had been suffering 
from fever. The other gang, 800 strong, that I inspected in Cuddapah^ 


228 THE 1-LB. KATION. 

was composed chieflj of the agiicultural population belonging to the 
surrounding villages. Here also the women generally outnumbei-ed 
the men, who were said to find work elsewhere. The general appear- 
ance of these people was very good. A very laige number of the 
men and women were as stout and healthy-looking as they could be 
in the best of times ; here and there thin and weakly persons were 
observed, but on enquiry it did not appear that their weak condition 
was attributable to want of food. The relief officer stated that when 
the people received the higher rate of wages they did not spend more 
in food than they do now, but saved the dififerenoe, and they have not 
deteriorated in condition since the wage was reduced. 

At Vellore, North Arcot district, I inspected altogether about 
3,000 people : 1,120 employeil and 400 applicants for employment in 
the construction of an embankment on the Palaar river may be con- 
sidered as samples of the population who have not hitherto been on 
relief, for those employed had been collected, some for about a fort- 
night, others for not more than a few days. The proportion of men 
employed here was small, being only 7 men to 28 women and children, 
and a veiy large proportion of the men were old or elderly. The 
task exacted here is 75 per cent, of the ordinary Public Works De- 
partment rates, and the people are paid at the following rates : — 




. 1 anna 11 pie. 

Women . 



1 anna 5 pie. 

Ohildren . 



1 anna. 

This is higher than the reduced rate given in other districts, and 
seven days* payment is given for six days' work. The elderly men 
were most of them of spare habit, but they were fairly muscular and 
their appearance healthy. The younger men were for the most part 
robust and in good condition. At the Sooriaghunta tank 1,600 
people are employed, and here the proportion of men is very small, 
being only 3 to 35 women and children. This small proportion of 
men on the works is attributable to the circumstance that in this part 
of the country agricultural operations and other means of employment 
are not suspended to the same extent as in the Ceded districts, and 
that the able-bodied men are for the most part employed in the occu- 
pations that engage them in ordinary seasons ; but at the present 
prices of food their earnings do not suffice to maintain their families, 
and women who in ordinary times would not undertake coolie labour 
are on this account induced to come and earn additional means of sub- 
sistence on works which are conveniently near their homes. The 
gangs at the Sooria tank were first formed on November 24. From 
February 19 to March 25 they were on the reduced rate, but it 

suiiQEox-MxVJORr lyon's memorandum. 221) 

has now been again raised to the same rate as on the Palaar embank- 
ment because the people did heayier tasks. As a body, these people 
were in fair condition, and, so far as I was able to ascertain, did not 
deteriorate or show signs of weakness during the &ye or six weeks 
that they were on the reduced rate of wages. 

At the Yellore Kelief-house 700 people who are incapable of work 
are fed. The proportion of men and women is about equal. Each 
adidt male I'eceives daily 1 lb. of dry rice cooked ; 10 oz. of this is 
given at 10 o'clock and the remainder in the evening. To the evening 
meal is added half an ounce of dal mixed with vegetable and condi- 
ments in the form of curry. In many of these people the effects of 
famine are very evident, particularly among a number of people who 
have come in from the Kalastri zemindari, but they are improving on 
the food now given them. 

Taking the evidence that has come before me in the course of my 
tour, I can arrive at no other conclusion than that the rate to which 
the wage of the relief-labourers was reduced on the recommendation of 
Sir Bichard Temple is sufficient to support them in fair condition, pro- 
vided that care is taken that the individual recipient is the only 
person who is supported on it. And I see no reason why the wage 
should be raised unless an ecpiivalent amount of work is performed. 

Competent authorities in Madras did not scruple 
to express their dissatisfaction with Dr. Townsend's 
report, which was declared to be untrustworthy. He 
was urged not to leave the Madras Presidency without 
seeing something of the misery of the people in the 
camps and relief-houses, but he returned to Simla 
without seeing anything but gangs of coolies on works 
in various districts near the railwav, and on this hurried 
inspection made his report. 

Surgeon- Major Lyon, F.C.S., chemical analyser to 
the Bombay Government, prepared a memorandum 
founded on observations of prisoners in the Bombay 
House of Correction. To it were appended a large 
number of tables dealing with analyses of foods and 
kindred subjects. Two of these tables were as follows : — 



Tabus IV.^Dailt NiTROGSir and Carbok op £ubofean Dietabibb. 

1. Standard diet (^loleschott) . 

2. f, (Parkes, Pavy, Church) 

3. Mean for ordinary labour (Letheby) . 

4. Hard-working lalx)urer8 (Playfair) 

5. Active labourers „ 

6. Active labourers, Royal Engrineers (Playfair) 

7. Moderate exercise (Playfair) 

8. English soldier, Home service (Playfair) 

9. „ „ (Parkes) 



En^ith Government Oonoict EetMithtnenU, 

10. (a.) Hard labour . 

11. (6.) Industrial employment . 

12. (c!) lij^ht labour . 

13. Mean of English, Scotch, Welsh^ and Irish 

farm labourers (E. Smith) 

14. English farm labourers, lowest of the four 

(E. Smith) . . . . . 
16. Low-fed operatives average (E. Smith) 

16. Bare sustenance diet (E. Smith) 

17. ,) y, (Letheby) . » 

18. „ „ (Playfair) . 


i Nitrogen 
Grains Daily 


Graioa Daily 





































Kote^ io Table IV. 

1. For a male European adult of average height and weight (5 feet 
6 inches to 5 feet 10 inches, and 140 to 160 lbs.), in moderate work. 

2. Average weight (164 lbs., Church) and moderate work. 

3. Mean calculated from researches of various physiologists for adult 

6. Soldiers during war. 

6. Calculated from amount of food consumed by 496 men of the Royal 
Engineers at work at Chatham. 

7. Mean of English, French, Austrian, and Prussian soldiers during 

16. Average representing vhe daily diet of an adult man during periods of 

17. Mean calculated from researches of various physiologists, represent- 
ing the amount required by an adult man during idleness. 

18. Mean of diet of needle-women in London, certain prison dietaries, 
common dietary for convalescents, Edinburgh InfinnaTy, average diet during 
cotton famine of 1862 in Lancashire. 

Three diet scales whi'^h are given (Tables V. to IX.) are calculated as 
follows : — 

Diet Scale No, 1. — ^This is the Bombay House of Correction diet ([a.] 
Tables I. and III.) raised and lowered in proportion to weight. The average 
weight of the prisoners on admission into the House of Correction being 


106 lbs., nitrogen 201*6 grains, carbon 4,011 grains (the value in nitrogen 
and carbon of the House of Correction diet) is placed opposite the weight, 
105 lbs. For every 6 lbs. in weight over or under 105 lbs. /^ of these 
quantities of nitrogen or carbon is added or deducted as the case may be. 
It will be ubserved that at weight 150 lbs., the quantities of nitrogen and 
carbon become respectively 288 and 5,730 grains. At 150 lbs., therefore, 
the nitrogen is very slightly above the nitrogen of the English convict hard 
labour diet (Table IV., 10), viz., 281 grains ; the carbon, however, is con- 
siderably higher than the carbon of the English convict hard labour diet, 
viz., 5,730 as compared with 5,140 grains, or 11*47 per cent, higher, 
Letheby's mean estimate for ordinary labour (Table IV., 3), viz., nitrogen 
307 grains, carbon, 5,688 grains, comes as regards carbon very near diet scale 
No. 1, at weight 150 lbs. The quantity of nitrogen in Letiieby's estimate, 
however, is higher, viz., 307, as compared with 288 grains. 

Diet Scale No. 2. — ^This is (diet scale No. 1) lowered in the same pro- 
portion as English convict light labour diet (Table IV., 12) is lower than 
English convict hard labour diet, i.e., as 281 is to 242 for the nitrogen, and 
as 5,140 is to 4,250 for the carbon. Lowered in this proportion, the quan- 
tities become — 

At 105 lbs., nitrogen 173*6 grains, carbon 8,528 grains. 
At 150 lbs,, „ 248-0 „ „ 5,039 „ 

At 105 lbs., therefore, diet scale No. 2 is very similar in value to the 
non-labour diet of the Common Jail, Bombay (Table III. [d,"]), and some- 
what better than the Oudh Jails non-labour diet (Table m. [/*.]) at 150 lbs. 
Diet scale No. 2 is better than the average diet of low-fed English opera- 
tives, as estimated by Edwin Smith (Table IV., 15) ; it is, of course, also 
better than the light labour diet in English Convict establishments in the 
same proportion that diet scale No. 1 is better than the hard labour diet at 
the same establishments. 

Diet Scale No. 3. — This is calculated as follows : — Of the three estimates 
for bare sustenance diet the mean of the two highest (Edwin Smith's and 
Letheby's Table IV., 16 and 17) is nitrogen 190*5, carbon 4,094 grains ; both 
these estimates are for average adult males. Playfsdr's estimate (Table IV., 
18), which is considerably lower than the other two, is excluded, as it doe9 
not wholly refer to adult males. Raismg this mean in the same proportion 
as diet scale No. 1 at 150 lbs. exceeds English convict hard labour diet, the 
figures become nitrogen 195*3 grains, carbon 4,564 grains. These quantities 
placed opposite weight 150 lbs. form the foundation of diet scale No. 3. For 
the other weights shown in the table, the quantities are proportionally re* 
duced. Comparing diet scale No. 3 with Flayfair^s estimate for bare suste- 
nance (Table i V., 18), it will be seen that the nitrogen of the scale does not 
run below Play fair's estimate until after weight 125 lbs. is reached, and, 
similarly, it is only when the weight runs below 105 lbs. that the amount af 
carbon becomes lower than that given in Playfair's estimate. 



Tabl< V. — Showihg ths qvaktitt of Nitroosk akb Oabbof bs- 


Scale 1. — A labour scale, the Bombay House of Correction diet raised and 

lowered in proportion to weifi^ht. 
Sotde 2. A light kbour scale, scale No. I reduced in the same proportion 

that English convict light labour diet bears to English convict 

hard labour diet. 
Scale 3. A hare sustenance scale, scale No. 1 reduced in same proportion that 

a mean bare sustenance estimate for Europeans (mean of 16 and 

17, Table lY.) bears to English convict hard labour diet. 

Scale No 

. 1, Daily 

Scale No 

. 2, Daily 

Scale No. 8, Daily 


















































■ • 






































































Tablb VI.— SHOwiNe thb Total Qvaktitiss of mixed Cersals 



Scale No. 1, 
ounces daily 

Scale No. 2, 
oances daily 

Scale Na 3, 
ounces dailv 


oil .at* 




85 . 

> • • 




90 . 

■ . • • 




95 . 




100 . 




105 . 




110 . 




115 . 




120 . 




125 . 




130 . 




13ri . 




140 . 




145 . 




150 . 




DR. Cornish's reply to mr. lyon. 233 

Three tables which followed, viz., Tables VII., VIII., and IX., show in 
what proportions each of the eiji^ht cereals — rice, barley, jowari, common 
millet, bajri, maize, oats, and wheat — must respectively be mixed with pulse 
in order to furnish the quantities of nitrogen and carbon shown on each of 
the three scales of Table V. 

Dr. Cornish's reply to Mr. Lyon was in his best 
vein, and cannot be passed over in a summary of the 
controversy. The Sanitary Commissioner craved the 
permission of his Grace in Council briefly to state that, 
in his opinion, the data of Surgeon- Major Lyon's paper 
did not justify the conclusion which Sir Richard Temple 
had formed on it, viz., that * a ration based on a pound 
of grain is sufficient for the sustenance of persons not 
performing severe labour.' He could not find any 
statement in Mr. Lyon's paper in which he expressed 
such an opinion in w^ords, although a casual reader 
might perhaps draw some such conclusion from his 

* In all the scales of diet drawn by Surgeon-Major Lyon ' (Dr. 
Cornish continues) ' be has proceeded on the assumption that *^ thera 
is no theoretical objection to the proposition that the quantity of food 
required "by adults is proportionable to their weight, provided of 
coui'se always that the quantity of work expected from them is like- 
wise proportioned to their weight." This method of procedure is in 
my opinion extremely fallacious, and I shall briefly show why any 
scale of diet drawn up in furtherance of this view must be received 
with the greatest caution. 

' Surgeon- Major Lyon argues that a human being requires food in 
exact proportion to his weight, and he has furnished tables showing, 
according to this theory, the quantity of nitrogenous and carbonife- 
rous food necessaiy for the sustenance of persons weighing from 80 to 
150 lbs. under the different conditions of hard labour, light labour, 
and complete rest. 

* If there was any relation between the weight of an individual 
and his capacity for assimilating food and effecting work i-equiring 
expenditure of 'force, there might be some show of reason for laying 
down a principle that men require food in proportion to their weight. 
But we know as a fact that there is no such correspondence — ^that in 
a very considerable number of persons the power to work diminishes 

234 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

as the body increases in weighty notably in those who with increasing 
years tend to develop fat instead of muscle. 

' The every-day ex^)erienoe of the most superficial observer must 
afford instances of persons of large appetite who never get fat, and of 
persons who are not large eaters who lay on an amount of flesh that 
becomes a serious burden and inconvenience to them ; and with regard 
to these persons it is apparontly seriously proposed by the chemical 
analyser to the Grovemment of Bombay that they should be fed, the 
thin and the stout alike, in proportion to their weight. The mere 
statement of the proposition in this form is sufficient to show that, 
without being hedged in by important qualifications, the theory 
cannot be applied in practical dietetics.^ 

^ The theory that work can be performed in proportion to weight 
is still more wide of the field of practical observation. According to 
this theory " The Claimant," who weighed 22 stone on going to jail, 
was then more fit to endure hard labour than he was six months after, 
when he had lost one-fourth of his weight ; and athletes, instead of 
striving to keep their weight down, ought according to this theory to 
take means to lay on extra flesh. There is in fact no relation between 
the ability and capacity for labour and mere weight of body, as Mr. 
Lyon would seem to suggest. 

' There are so many things more important than weight of body 

^ The phynological needs of men whose tendency it is to clothe themselves 
with flesh, and of those who remain thin and spare in spite of all the food 
they consume, are essentially difierent. llie two types and their personal 
characteiistics have been well defined by Shakespeare, who makes Julius 
Caesar say to Mark Antony : 

CcBs, Let me have men about me that are fat ; 

Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o^ nights. 

Yond' Cassias has a lean and himgry look, 

He thinks too much ; such men are dangerous. 

Ant, Fear him not Ccesar, he's not dangerous I 
• • • • 

Cas, Would he were fatter 1 • • 
I do not know the man I should avoid 
So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much ; 
He is a great observer, and he looks 
Quite through the deeds of men : he loves no plays 
As thou dost, Antony I he hears no munc t 
Seldom he smilep, and smiles in such a sort, 
As if he mocked himself, and scorned his spirit 
That could be moved to smile at anything. 
Such men as he he never at heart's ease, 
Whiles they behold a gi'eater than themselves. 
And therefore are they very dangerous. 
— W. R. C. 


bearing on the necessitj for food that it is surprising to find a chemist 
in these days laying so much stress on weight as the principal factor 
in determining the quantities of food necessary for health and strength. 
One might think that questions connected with the idiosyncrasies of 
the individual, his age, race, temperament, habit of body, slowness or 
rapidity of vital changes, were to be set aside as of no value in com- 
parison with a theory that the body needs sustenance in proportion to 
its bulk, I suppose Mr. Lyon would admit that a veiy different 
amount of nutriment is needed for a spare man of large frame and 
without fat and another of equal weight, but whose size depended on 
an abnormal deposition of fat in his tissues ; yet this weight-theory 
makes no distinction between the requirements of the two. 

' Mr. Lyon has taken 150 lbs. as the average weight of male 
Europeans, and 105 lbs. as the average weight of natives of India. 
According to Sir R. Christison's experiments in Pei*thBhire, the 
average weight of Scotchmen was 140 lbs., and from some experi- 
mental measurements and weighings made of various castes by Dr. 
John Shortt in Madras some years ago, he found that the average 
weight of male adults of the fishermen, Boyas, and other labouring 
castes, was about 120 lbs., and of certain other castes from 114 to 118 
lbs. It would seem, therefore, that as regards the classes of persons 
suffering from famine in this part of India, there is not that great 
difference in weight and bulk of the people as a whole which would 
justify a very marked reduction of food in comparison with European 

' The argument in regard to food and average weight and bulk of 
the body must not be pushed too far. With certain limitations it 
must be admitted as useful in the construction of dietaries, but after 
all the &cts of most importance are (1) the habits of the people them- 
selves in the choice of food, its nature and amount ; and (2) the daily 
waste which the body suffers from vital changes. Observations on 
the former head are sufficiently accurate, but in India we have never 
had any scientific determination of the daily waste of the body under 
strictly defined conditions of diet and labour. The subject is so im- 
portant that I hope some of our scientific officers who have leisure 
and means of observation will take it up, and let us know if there be 
any truth in Sir Kichard Temple's surmise that natives of India 
excrete less nitrogen iu proportion to weight, food, and exercise than 
the European races do. 

'I observe that Surgeon-Major Lyon bases his table of diets on 
the experience of the Bombay House of Ck)rrection, where it is stated 
that the prisoners on hard labour gained in weight on the average 
1 lb. 10^ oz. each while existing on the scale of food for labouring 

236 THE l-LB. RATION. 

prisoners. I admit that the increase or decrease in weight of the 
people subjected to a dietary with certain reservations and limitations 
affords indications of value regarding the sufficiency of the food, but 
the weight record alone is only a portion of the evidence necessary. 
Surgeon-Major Lyon says nothing about the sickness and mortality 
of the prisoners in the Bombay House of Correction. It would be 
essential to know to what extent they suffered from bowel-disorders, 
aniemiay scurvy, and other diseases of innutrition, as well as the 
general rate of mortality, before coming to the conclusion that the 
hard labour scale of diet was actually sufficient to keep the people in 
ordinary health. As r^ards the proposed diets, for those on light 
labour and those doing nothing at all, there appears to be no practical 
evidence whatever to prove their sufficiency or insufficiency ; and all 
that can be said of such scales is that they are based on a theory 
which in some respects has been shown to be fallacious. 

* As a matter of fact, and excluding all theory whatever, we have 
ascertained in certain Madras jails that where punishment by restric- 
tions in food, so as to reduce the daily amount of nitrogen to much 
less than 200 grains, has been persevered in for any length of time, 
there has been loss of strength, loss of health, and sacrifice of life, 
and this knowledge would make me very sceptical as to the sufficiency 
of a *' bare subsistence" diet, containing only 136 '7 grains of nitrogen, 
Ruch as Mr. Lyon now proposea In his table of ^* Food Equivalents,' 
published a few years ago, I observe that Mr. Lyon was more liberal 
in his views, for he there speaks of 200 grains of nitrogen and 3,070 
grains of carbon as "almost a starvation diet." Certainly without 
the most cautious experimental tests, a dietary like the No. 3 Scale of 
Mr. Lyon would never commend itself to those practically acquainted 
with the subject of the connection of food with vital force, and based 
as it is on mere theory, I think it is to be i-egretted that a subsistence 
ration, ranging in nitrogen from 104*2 to 195*3 grains according to 
the weight of the individual was ever seriously put forward as a prac- 
tical gui'le for those dealing with famine relief. 

' There is one other point requiring a cursory notice. Mr. Lyon 
proposes to eke out the deficient nitrogen of various cereal grains by 
the addition of pulse, so as to make the total nitrogen of the food 
equivalent to the needs of the body, as reckoned by the weight theoiy. 
To take for instance the case of an obese native merchant, accustomed 
to feed on rice, and sentenced to hard labour. His daily diet would 
be made up of 21 ounces of rice and 9*55 oz. of gram or dhall. In all 
probability he would be unused to the latter food, and certainly under 
no circumstances could he digest and assimilate the nutriment con- 
tained in 9*55 ounces of that grain in the course of 24 hours. If he 


failed to digest the dhall, the nitrogenous principles of it could in no 
way assist in the nutrition of the body. In these proposed dietaries 
Mr. Lyon has in fact omitted the veiy necessary caution enjoined in 
his former paper on *'Food Equivalents." ''Kegard should always 
be paid to the relative proportions in which, by custom or ha})it, arti- 
cles of food are consumed by a population. This often indicates a 
limit of digestibility which ought not to be greatly exceeded." 

' The present period of famine is presenting many opportunities 
for the study of those conditions of the body induced by privation 
of food; and the more this subject is considered, the more im- 
portant does it become that we should follow only sound and true 
principles in dealing with questions connected with the food of a 

' A careful study of the condition of the people who have been 
subjected to slow starvation shows that there is a point in the down- 
ward progress of such cases from which there is no possible return to 
health and strength. Food of the most nutritious character, and in 
the greatest profusion, is then powerless to save life. Chemical 
theories as to the composition of food do not in the least help us to 
explain why people should die with an abundance of nutritious food 
within reach ; but if we carefully examine the bodies of those who 
have died of this form of starvation, we shall find that the delicate 
structures engaged in the assimilation of nutriment from food have 
wasted (owing probably to insufficient use) and undergone degenera- 
tive changes, so as to unfit them for their jieculiar ofiice. It has been 
my painful duty to observe not one or two but many thousands of 
such cases within the last few months, and I need not say that the 
contemplation of the causes leading to these slow but almost certainly 
fatal changes in the assimilative structures of the human body lead 
me to look with very grave suspicion upon all proposals for *' bare 
subsistence '* dietaries, and especially when such proposals are known 
to be out of harmony with the natural habits and customs of the 
people to whom they are proposed to be applied. 

' This is not the time nor the occasion to review the practical 
effects of Sir Richard Temple's experiment in reducing the famine- 
wages of the people to the basis of one poimd of grain ; but this much 
may be stated, that the recent experienee of nearly every famine 
officer who has observed the practical effects of the reduced wages has 
led him to believe and pubUcly record his opinion that the subsistence 
scale of wages was perilously low; while as regards our destitute 
poor in relief-camps we have had too abundant evidence of the fact 
that a more liberal scale of food than that purchasable for a famine 
relief wage is inadequate to restore health or to arrest decay.' 

238 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

All the evidence summarised in the foregoing pages^ 
and much more of a similar kind, was hefore the Madras 
Government. Pulilic opinion had expressed itself very 
strongly against a continuance of the lower ration ; the 
Government of India had decided to leave the matter 
in the hands of the local authorities, the Secretary of 
State telegraphed approval of whatever action they might 
take, and eventually, on May 22, it was decided to issue 
the following order: — 

' The attention of Government having been cloeely given to the 
subject of the sufficiency of the scale of wages established by G. O. oi 
January 31, 1877, No. 329, Financial Department, and the weight of 
the direct evidence being decidedly adverse to the continued mainte- 
nance of the lower rate which evidently has only very limited opera- 
tion in Bombay, if any, and which the Mysore authorities have never 
introduced, his Grace the Governor in Council resolves to direct that 
the No. 1 rate of wage in the above scale be made of general applica- 
tion to all f&miDe works, the task to be exacted being not less than 
50 per cent, of a full task estimated according to the physical capacity 
of the individual labourer in his normal condition, and with reference 
to the circumstances of the work, such as nature and condition of the 
soil, proximity of water both for work and drinking purposes, accessi- 
bility of site from lodging place, &c. 

' The Government consider that labourers who are unable to per- 
form this amount of task should not be in the labour gangs at all, 
but should be on specially light work or in a relief-camp until strong 
enough for effective labour. 

' All nursing mothers employed on works will be paid as adult 
males, and all working boys and girls above 12 years of age will be 
classed as adults. 

* All children of labourers under 7 years of age will be excluded 
from works, but allowed a quarter anna daily subsistence allowance. 

* The full rate of wage will be paid for Sunday, but no task will 
be exacted for that day. 

' Wages should be disbursed not less frequently than once in three • 

'Piecework at ordinary district rates and petty contract work, 
when the labourers associate themselves in family or village gangs 
under proper and, as far as possible, under professional supervision, 
should be encouraged as much as possible ; but the system of large 
contracts by outsiders for famine works is disapproved. 


'The Crovemor in Council relies on the oolleciors to give the 
fullest and most speedy publication to these orders, so as to allow of 
their being brought into operation with the least possible delay. They 
will be telegraphed in abstract to all collectors/ 

In August the Bombay Government had before it 
a mass of evidence directly contrary to that furnished 
by the officials in Madras. It was as follows: — 

Camp Dhond, July 7, 1877. 

In reply to your No. 4,664, dated July 6, I have the honour to 
report on the working of the civil agency rates in the Ahmednagar 

When they came into force last January, I was co-operating with 
Mr. Spry, and made the first civil agency payment on the Nagar* 
Sheogaon road. The immediate result was great discontent, some 
violent talking, and a very geneitil desertion of the work. There was 
a similar result in Bahuri taluk ahout the heginning of Febiniary. 

I have since seen the working of civil agency rates on the railway 
and in the Shrigonda taluk. The civil agency gang on the railway, 
which was under me for a long time, was composed of those really 
unable to do hard work: they got on very fairly, and I did not 
observe any deterioration in their condition. 

On the Mandavgaon road the coolies kept very well on civil 
agency rates, but they did very little work. Where the better class 
of people engaged in work, such as cleaning out of wells, I found civil 
agency rates had the effect of clearing them off very quickly. 

I am of opinion that the introduction of civil agency rates in con- 
tradistinction to public works rates has been most beneficial, and has 
saved Grovemment a large sum of money, for civil agency rates afford 
only a bare subsistence, while public works rates allow a small margin ; 
hence idlers, who came on the works to make money, found their 
hopes frustrated by the payment of civil agency rates. — R. K Candy, 
First Assistant CoUecfor, 

Ahmednagar, July 12, 1877. 

In reply to your No. 4,664, of the 6th instant, I have the honour 
to state that the labourers under civil agency in the taluks under my 
charge have continued in good health and condition on the lower I'ate 
of wages, and that they appeared to get sufficient to eat. 

I think it, however, very probable that the majority of them either 
had some small private means, or received additional help from their 
CO- villagers. Women with small children were certainly better off 

240 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

than those who had none, for the additional quarter anna per head 
was more than sufficient for the cost of their food. 

I think the reduction in the rate of wages was felt most by indi- 
vidual men and women without families, though beyond doubt large 
numbers of such individuals have managed to keep their health and 
perform a little work. — T. S. Hamilton, Second Assistant Collector, 

About the working of the civil agency rates : — During the time 
that the rates have been in force, I have had to go from one taluk 
to another so often that I could not inspect any particular work at 
frequent intervals, so that it was difficult to say from personal obser- 
vation whether individual labourers were or were not falling off in 
condition. However, the people generally on these works have kept 
in fair condition, and I may safely say that those who were thin, who 
consisted principally of old people and young children, did not fall off 
in condition after coming to work, and that the thin children improved. 
Extra pay was given to emaciated children and others. 

A considerable number of people were able-bodied. Some of these 
were women, who had no male relatives who could take them to the 
railway. Others were admitted with aged or feeble-bodied parents, 
under the rule not to separate members of a family. Some had been 
improperly admitted. At my last inspection I turned off two or three 
able-bodied people from the Jamkhed work, and about twenty-five 
from the Karjat work. 

The people on the works were mostly from the surrounding villages. 
In my last inspection I found women and children at work, who had 
parents or relatives at home. These were turned off, as they evidently 
had some means of subsistence at home. This was especially the case 
on the Kargat to Ghogargaon road. On inspecting this work about a 
week ago, I found a large number of new people who had joined from 
neighbouring villages since the work came near them. Some of these 
had relatives at home sowing their fields. I reported yesterday the 
number turned off. 

There were also of course on both works a number of people who 
had been on the works since they were opened. They appear to be 
the people who are most in want. — A. F. Woodburn, Supernumerary 
Assistcmt Collector. 

Camp Kolhar, July 7, 1877. 

In reply to your letter No. 4,664, of yesterday's date, I have the 
honour of reporting as follows, on the working of the civil a^ncy 
rates in the taluks under my charge. 

When these rates were first introduced, there was a certain outciy 
among the people regarding their insufficiency. The rule was to 


accept all who applied for work in the first instance, and to reduce 
their numbers afterwards, by drafting the able-bodied to works under 
professional superyision. When this rule was enforced, it appeared 
that the very people who had been vigorously protesting against the 
reduced wages were very unwilling to leave, and to proceed to where 
they would receive the full rates. This unwillingness was not con- 
fined to any one work, but was universal in the taluks under my 
charga It was found that wherever these works were opened the 
great majority, in some cases almost all the applicants, were inhabi- 
tants of adjoining villages. They usually refused to go to the larger 
works, openly avowing that they preferred lighter tasks near their 
homes to the greater labour and discomfort on the works under pro- 
fessional supervision. 

The reason of this independence can, I think, be demonstrated* 
The people received per man from one anna one pie to one anna three 
pies on the civil agency works. Eoughly, the difference between the 
rates on the two classes of work was six pies per diem, or about one 
rupee per mensem. Thus, a man with a capital, or the power of 
raising it, of eight rupees, could have to spend, while on civil agency 
works, as much as his fellow on the other, or enough to keep him at 
the higher rate from November till Jime. It may be supposed that 
a goodly number of the people possessed property in ornaments or 
utensils sufficient to raise this amount or more. It was remarked 
that the ornaments worn by women on the works were of but little 
value, and for the most part this was true ; but it should be remem- 
bered that silver to the value of one rupee would, as above, raise a 
labourer's wages to the higher rate for one month, if sold. 

As regards the sufficiency of the food which could be bought with 
the daily ration on civil agency works to keep a labourer in health, I 
can only give the result of my own observations among people who 
were undoubtedly badly off. My experience is that there were few, 
if any, who could be called unhealthy from lack of food, and there 
were no cases of severe distress. This was especially apparent among 
women who were deserted by their husbands, of whom the number 
has been large, and among widows. Both these and the nursing 
mothers with their infants have been all along in excellent health. 
Weakness of voice, the most certain sign of starvation, has not in any 
case been a characteristic of these people. 

Altogether, I am of opinion that, whatever the cause may be, 
whether that the people all had supplementary resources, or that the 
rates sufficed, they were enabled to keep up their health and strength, 
and to remain singularly free from disease on the rate of pay under 
civil agency. — ^A. B. Fforde, on Special Duty, 


242 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

Ahmednagar First Assistant Collector's Office, July 9, 1877. 

In reply to your letter No. 4,664, dated the 6th instant, I have 
the honour to report that I have been only in charge of the first 
assistant collector's taluks for two months, and am unable to give 
any decisive opinion as to how the civil agency rates were working, 
but from what I saw lately of the labourers employed on the works in 
Nagar and Newase taluks, I always found them in good condition 
and health. 

I don't mean to say that the bare allowance (value of one pound 
plus 1 pice and 2 pies) would have enabled them to preserve so good 
a health as they have been enjoying, but calculating this, together 
with the charity of 3 pies to each child under seven years of age, they 
make up their wages to the standard of 2 annas to the male and 
1^ anna to the female, and nothing to the children. — Apaji Kaoji, 
Extra District Deputy Collector, 

Poona^ August 9, 1877. 

I have the honour to submit the general report on the working of 
the civil agency rates in the southern division, called for in Govern- 
ment memorandum No. 1,193 F., dated 3rd ultimo. Before doing so 
I wished to obtain the opinions of the collectors and their assistants 
on the subject, and I accordingly addressed the collectors on the 4th 
idem. I have now received all their replies, with the exception of 
that of the collector of Eatnagiri, Mr. Crawford, but I deem it un- 
necessary further to await his reply. 

Mr. Percival, Collector of Sholapur, has replied briefly as foUows : — 

* Before reporting, I sent the following questions to my assis- 
tants, as, although I know their opinions generally, I wished to 
obtain as definite answers as possible : — 

* 1. Have people who came on civil agency works im- 
proved or not ? 

' 2. Have people on aDy civil works fallen out of con- 
dition to such an extent that they have been obliged to give 
up the work and come on charitable relief? 

* 3. What has been the effect of the rates on the children ? 

< The answers to these questions are — 

' 1. Doubtful, or not improved much. 
' 2. No such cases known. 

* 3. Good everywhere.* 

Mr. Percival observes that Mr. Davidson, who has watched the effect 
of the civil rates most carefully, sums up thus : 


' As a whole, I think the civil rates, modified by grants of 
extra allowance to nursing mothers, and with a lit^e straining 
the point as to when boys and girls should be counted as men 
and women, and with payment as charity through the village 
officers to work-people temporarily unfit for work through illness, 
have proved quite sufficient to keep the people alive and in health, 
though not to fully satisfy their appetites, or to keep their 
strength up to its normal point in an ordinary year/ 

3. Mr. Percival adds : — 

* Soon after I came here, I noticed that growing boys particularly 
complained of the low rates, and I advised the taluk officers to 
take a liberal view of such cases, which has been, I think, gene- 
rally done in this district. It is difficult to Gx the exact age at 
which a boy is to be considered to be an adult, and on civil agency 
works this must be left to the relief officers to decide, as cases 

' With this exception, I think that the civil rates have proved 
sufficient for all persons on light work, and that the distLnction 
between civil and public works rates should be kept up on relief 

' In order to watch the work-people and give such extra relief 
as is indicated by Mr. Davidson, civil relief works should not be 
scattered. One or two works in each taluk should, if possible, 
be chosen of sufficient size to employ all those needing relief who 
are unfit for Public Works Department labour. 

* Such minute supervision is necessary in receiving people in 
low condition, sending them away when fit for public works 
tasks, arranging about fiunilies and sick people, that it does not 
seem advisable to place the incapable under the Public Works 
Department, to whom they would be a constant trouble, and with 
the r^ularity of whose work they would interfere.' 

4. The collector of Satara, Mr. Moore, states that from the opinions 
which his assistants have expressed on the subject, and from his own 
observation, it appears to him that the civil agency rates are sufficient 
to maintain persons employed on light labour, such as is exacted on 
civil agency works, in good health and condition. The diet allowed 
to prisoners in jails, not on hard labour, is given by him as below ; 
and he observes it will be found on comparison to be almost equal 
to the civil agency rates. Whatever appears extra in this scale as 
compared with our relief wages can, he states, be purchased with the 
money allowance of half an anna which the prisoners do not receive, 
but the civil agency labourers do. He adds that it is a well-known 
fact that, as a rule, prisoneiR gain in weight during their confiinement 

B 2 

244 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

in the gaol, and this only confirms him in the conclusion he has come 
to as to the suffidencj of the civil agency rates. 

lb. oz. 

Bajri, wheat, jowari, nagli flour 13 

Dal — tur^ chunna, mug, masur, math . . . .03 

Salt Of 

Fresh yegetahles 6 

Curry stuff— onions, red-pepper, turmeric, coriander . . J 
Kokam or tamarind . . . . . . . . ^ 

Oil, or its equivalent of ghee, in money value . . . ^ 
Fuel 10 

5. Mr. J acorn b, collector of Ahmednagar, in forwarding the re- 
ports of his assistants as below, which I beg to submit in original for 
the perusal of Government, observes as follows : — 

^ In my previous reports on the subject of the civil agency rates 
I recommended a slight increase, as I considered that the rate 
was sufficient only for a bare maintenance ; but I am inclined to 
think now, from the way in which the labourers on civil agency 
works have kept in condition, that the addition of 3 pies which I 
once thought necessary as a margin for accidents and off-days, 
was not, as a rule, indispensable for the sustenance of people on 
work. In many cases this extra allowance was necessary, and 
has in reality been provided under the exceptional treatment 
plan, and I still think that though no harm has come of the 
reduction of wages, the cost of extras, of village inspection, of 
feeding weakly wanderers at the relief-houses, of allowances to 
children under seven years of age, and of lower-power labour, 
will about counterbalance the saving that may have been effected 
under the change of wages.' 

Mr. Candy 8 No. 465, dated July 7, 1877. 
Mr. Hamilton's No. 385, dated July 12, 1877. 
Mr. Woodbum'fl, dated July 7, 1877. 
Mr. Fforde*8 No. 113, dated July 7, 1877. 
Mr. Apaji Raoji's No. 504, dated July 9, 1877. 

6. Mr. Norman, collector of Foona, after consulting his assistants, 
has little to add to the reports he has already forwarded on this 
subject. He observes that — 

* It seems to be the general impression, in which he concurs, 
that civil agency rates have proved sufficient for the maintenance 
of the old and infirm, and such persons as are incapable of per- 
forming a fair day's work. 


' On the otlier hand, it must be remem1>ered that the orders of 
Government, under which special allowances could be granted to 
all persons in need of such assistance, have been freely made 
use of. 

' It is also as well to note that task work on civil agency works 
has never been rigidly exacted, partly for want of adequate 
establishment, but chiefly because the people, being in very poor 
condition, could not be turned off even if imable to perform the 
tasks allotted.' 

7. It will be seen from the above that all the officers in this 
division, who have now had no inconsiderable practical experience, are 
of opinion that the civil agency rates are sufficient to maintain those 
receiving them in fair condition. I concur fully in this opinion. It 
must, however, be noticed, that all lay no inconsiderable stress on the 
fact that much of the success attending these rates is due to the ex- 
ceptional treatment which has been sanctioned by Crovemment in 
certain cases. In Sholapur they have found it necessary to deal 
liberally when deciding whether young lads should be rated as boys 
or as men. The aid given to young children and nursing mothers 
has been also a great boon, as the civil agency rates were not calcu- 
lated for these exceptional cases. 

8. I desire to remark that officers have been most careful to keep 
strict watch over the cases treated exceptionally, and, to prove that 
not many irregularities can have occurred, I may notice the very 
great zeal and activity of the famine officers, who from the returns sub- 
mitted to me have day after day, and in all weathers, personally 
examined works, and on an average visited from four to five villages 
daily, personally examining the registers and the people. The zeal 
and devotion of the officers to their duty is beyond all praise, and I 
feel confident that Government may rely on the opinions expressed by 
them, and feel certain that had they found the rates insufficient, they 
would at once have clearly and strongly represented such to be the 


E. P. Robertson, Eeventie Commissioner, S,D, 

The Bombay Government passed the following 
resolution on the foregoing order : — * The views ex- 
pressed by the officers of the southern division in the 
reports now submitted are confirmed by the recorded 
opinions of the sanitary commissioner to the same 
effect, and also by the opinions of experienced officers 
in the Kanarese districts, especially in Kaladgi, the 

246 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

worst of all the districts in the famine area ; and 
Government have therefore every reason for feeling 
satisfied that the wages all through the famine districts, 
both on civil agency and on Public Works Depart- 
ment rates, when paid under the adjustment of the 
sliding scale, and for six days only, are safe and suf- 
ficient, provided there be a proper and efficient organi- 
sation to pick up and deal with special cases of weakly 




In spite of all that has passed on the subject, the 
question of the sufficiency of one pound of food, plus 
one anna for condiments, as the ration of a full-grown 
man engaged in moderate work, is not decided. Two 
opinions are held upon it with great tenacity. Dr. 
Cornish, with the medical profession in Madras — ^from 
the surgeons-general to the apothecaries, — and non-pror 
fessional opinion in the Presidency, are unanimous in 
thinking the allowance too small. In Bombay, on the 
other hand, Sir Richard Temple, in his final report on 
the famine, says that there are not two opinions upon 
the question of the sufficiency of the ration. The 
question is one that should be settled. With the data 
already in existence the Famine Commission could 
make further investigation, and put the matter on a 
definite footing once for all. Much collateral evidence 
has been furnished by the experience of the famine, 
which it would be useful to have collected once for all, 
and the reasonable deductions to be drawn therefrom 
formulated for future guidance. Among other isolated 
facts to be found in large quantity if search be made, 
is the following interesting account of what has been 
done at Belgaum. The Poor Fund Committee at 
Belgaum provided during the famine, 31,144 meals, 
very ample meals, it is said, which could not in all 
cases be consumed at a sitting — and the cost was 9J 
pies per meal, rather more than three quarters of 

248 THB 1-LB. RATION. 

an anna.^ Mr. Shaw, the judge, superintended the 
distribution of the meals daily, and he was aided by 
native gentlemen of the locality* The sanitary com- 
missioner of Bombay, Dr. Hewlett, saw the distri- 
bution, and he stated that the recipients appeared 
to be quite satisfied with the quantity and quality of the 
food supplied to them. It is of course a moot point 
whether each meal could be procured for 9| pies, if the 
recipient had to purchase and cook the materials for 
himself ; the Poor Fund naturally made its purchases 
wholesale, and was able to economise in fuel, &c. Still, 
if it be the case that substantial meals can be provided 
in thousands at so trifling an outlay, there is good 
ground for believing that the claims of hunger and of 
economy are not after all quite irreconcileable.*^ 

The considerations which enter into the question 
are manifold. The chief argument urged during the 
controversy was on economic grounds, the formula 
being, * A good day's work for a good day's wage,' and 
it was urged that works of permanent public utility 
had better be performed by those who could do good 
work for adequate pay, than be carried on by people 
who merely played with employment. Even if the 
first cost were greater, which it is not certain it would 
be, the country would be the gainer in the end. A 
fiivourite parallel with some writers at the time, was 
shifting the scene to England, and asking what would 
be done under like circumstances there. One contri- 
butor to the Madras press put the matter thus : — ' Say 
we are landed proprietors in England, and have a bad 
season on our estates. We have people who cultivate the 
land either as small farmers or farm- labourers ; we want 

* The drawback in tbis cited case is tbat weighings and mortality- 
rates are not given. 

* Times of India . 


them to tide over the bad season. We have roads very- 
much neglected, which, in fact, we had not time to 
attend to before. We must employ our people ; we, 
therefore, mend these roads when all other work is 
slack. Then, are we, like the Indian Government, to 
say, "We won't give you ordinary wages. No, not 
even if you do extra work. But when screwing you 
down, we don't intend that any one is to die of starva- 
tion. So the bailiff has orders to visit all the cottages, 
and see what food you have in each, and, according to 
his discretion, dole out some gratuitous relief. At first 
we intended that all the non-workers were to go to the 
poor-house. Now, we see that it would be wrong to 
separate the mother from her young children, and that 
they can be fed at home, and besides, there are the old 
people past work. Well, they need not go to the poor- 
house, but here is the money we have cut from the 
wages." Fancy the *' blessings " which would accompany 
this mode of dispensing relief in an English county! 
To slightly vary and to take over the observations of an 
English labourer, Hodge may be supposed to say, " Why, 
they wouldn't let me earn my wage, and now they come 
to my house and examine my wife and parents, and 
leave their tuppenny pieces here ! What I says is this, 
give I a proper wage, and none of that 'ere gammon." 
Kamasawmy, when his wage is cut down, grumbles 
too ; he would prefer taking proper wages home, and 
having his family meal in peace, without the intrusion 
of the village monegar, or beat constable. He prefers 
to have as little to do with these gentry as possible ; 
the monegar is perhaps no friend of his, because he 
would not sell the cow that the monegar had set his 
heart upon — or there might be numerous other reasons 
to cause unpleasant feelings ; and the peasant, it is well 
known, does not, as a rule, like the policeman. What 

250 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

we have alluded to is what naturally comes of attempt- 
ing too much. It is true, that by the simple mode of 
paying the people proper wages for their work, there 
will be adequate relief, in the mode most agreeable to 
their feelings ; but then, again, there will not be the 
opportunity for interminable *' narratives," wearisome 
iterations (not to use a stronger word), volumes the bulk 
of which acts as a deterrent to perusal, those " exhaus- 
tive" reports which now accompany administration. 
Work will go on, as in ordinary times, only more people 
will get work, and the result will be that the work will 
be well chosen, and a lasting benefit to the country. But 
what kudos is to be gained by simply recording that " I 
made, or repaired, a few hundred miles of roads at a 
cheap rate, allowing of grain traffic in carts to every 
village, I reduced the wear and tear and expense of 
cartage 50 per cent., I cleared out silted channels, 
neglected or inefficiently repaired for generations. The 
people were well off and managed to pull through." ^ ^ 

Another point in favour of sufficient wage is the 
necessity for keeping the people alive, an object to be 
urged from the economic point of view. In India a ryot 
represents revenue. A large proportion of the revenue of 
the country — ^two-fifths — comes from the land. If the 
people die, the land lies waste, and no kist is paid. In 
the Madras Presidency in the latter half of 1877 two 
and a half million acres less than the average were un- 
cultivated. This, at a moderate estimate, means the 
loss of nearly a million sterling in land-revenue — not 
for one year only, but for a long series^ of years. Then, 
village tradespeople, the weavers, the shoemakers, the 
watchmen, who depend upon a share in the produce 
as the reward of their services, also do not get what 
they should and therefore die. Their absence, as well 

' Contribution in Madras Times, Marcli, 1877. 


as that of the ryots and coolies, is felt by the State in a 
diminished salt-tax return. Above all, and comprising 
all, is the general backwardness into which the country 
is thrown, by one individual out of every four, as in many 
Madras districts was the case, being removed by death 
in one season. It seems reasonable to argue that whilst 
the State in India is virtually landlord of a large estate, 
it must care for the people under its charge more 
paternally than other countries, where different rela- 
tions exist, would think of doing. If possible, arrange- 
ments should be preventive rather than palliative. The 
people should be taken in hand before they are too far 
reduced for recovery. This is a practical question in 
famine administration, for though there can be no 
question that at some period, if the British remain lords 
of the continent, famine will be as impossible in India 
as it is in Europe, that time is far distant, and frequent 
famines will meanwhile have to be faced. Sir Bartle 
Frere said at the Society of Arts, in 1873 : * There is 
one more fact which you will find noted in all accurate 
descriptions of famine, which should be borne in mind 
as of importance to right conclusions. It is that men 
are death-stricken by famine long before they die. The 
effects of insufficient food, long continued, may shorten 
life after a period of some years, or it may be of months, 
or days. But invariably there is a point which is often 
reached long before death actually ensues, when not 
even the tenderest care and most scientific nursing can 
restore a sufficiency of vital energy to enable the suf- 
ferer to regain even apparent temporary health and 
strength.' How to find out when this period is reached, 
and how to avert the consequences, is not the least of 
the problems which the Famine Commission should set 
itself to determine. A famine can scarcely be said to 
be adequately controlled which leaves one-fourth of the 

252 THE l-LB. RATION. 

people dead. This was the effect of the Madras and 
Mysore famines of 1876-78 in the worst-affected dis- 

' ' The Oenfius recently taken in this (Salem) ziUah shows, I hear, that 
the population is about onefoyrth lew than in 1871. Of course, there should 
haye been a natural increase since last censuB, and if this properly-expected 
increase be added to the returns of 1871, and if the present figures be com- 
pared with what ought to be the present state of things, I think I shall be 
right in concluding that Salem has, perhaps, lost one-third of its population 
by the last famine ; and that the loss is certain to be not less than twenty- 
five per cent. If the figures are correct, this will give about half a million 
of famine deaths in this one zillah alone. How many thousands of lives 
were saved by the untiring efibrts of the over-worked ofiicials, and by the 
Mansion House Fund, will never be known. Most certainly, the very lowest 
estimate would give a number equal to that of the deaths ; and if those who 
have laboured night and day beyond their strength, for more than a year past, 
can feel that half a million lives have been saved by their labours, who will 
grudge them the pleasure and satisfaction of the thought P And who will 
not give grateful thanku for the funds which came in time to save so many 
lives ? ' — Salem Correspondent of the Madras Times, 



A CONTRIBUTION of value on the point dealt with in this section was 
famished to the discussion by an article in the Times of India, of 
December 13, 1877, from which the following passages are taken : — 

When, then, the bare siibsistenoe allowance of one pound of grain 
was condemned by experts here and at home as miserably insufficient, 
and had to be actually abolished in Madras, the Bombay Government 
determined to justify their own policy, which latterly has happily 
been chiefly theoretical, by making experiments on the prisoners in the 
Presidency gaols ; thus endeavouring to show that the prisoners had 
received too much food, rather than that the labourer on the civil 
agency relief works had ever received too little. At the same time, 
no real effort was made to test the question thoroughly by giving the 
prisoners the exact quantity of food that had been allotted to relief 
labourers. The prisoners now receive less than they received before 
last July, that is all, and the allowance, as we shall see, is still some- 
thing very different from the 1 lb. ration for only six out of seven 
days, which proved the one signal flaw in the otherwise admirable 
administration of the Bombay fJEimine. 

Though the Bombay Government could not well venture to put 
the question to a practical test by adopting the 1-lb. ration, pure 
and simple, in all the Presidency gaols, and recording averages of 
death, sickness, and questions as to inci-ease or falling off in weight, 
working-power, and so foiiii, they are now, in the introduction of a 
reduced dietary scale, endeavouring to prove that the dietary scale 
for prisoners, which was dragged into the famine controversy, was 
excessive, and that Dr. Lyon's views are sounder than Dr. Cornish's 
outspoken opinions. In Dr. Lyon, our Government undoubtedly has 
the ablest scientific supporter in this Presidency, but in allowing his 
delicate theories to be put to a practical test, of which the records are 
preserved and should be available, they have supplied Dr. Cornish 
and those who think with him, most valuable material. 

The experiment, as we said, has only been attempted in a modified 
manner, and has lasted but six months ; yet the results are simply 
disastrous. The prison yards now contain many of the painful 
features of the very earliest relief camps. An important minority of 
the prisoners have still the strange famine look on their faces, or, 
perhaps, rather they have never been able to lose it, for some of them 

254 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

are fjennme wallahs sent to prison for stealing grain, kc. They appeal 
throughout the day, after meals as before, to any passing official for 
something to eat. They are unable to execute their task properly after 
a few weeks' trial of the new i-ation. More than double the average 
number of patients have to be accommodated in the hospitals, and 
the death-rate has increased to something like five times its ordinary 
standard. This state of things is openly acknowledged by the officials, 
who, indeed — gaolers, doctors, and regulation visitors alike — are 
almost as loud in complaint as the unhappy prisoners themselves. 

The scale previously in force for prisoners sentenced to hard labour 
was as follows : — 

24 oz. of their own country grain daily. 
6 „ of meat, includiog bones, &c., made into a kind of broth on 
Wednesdays and Saturdays only. 

5 J, dhall 5 times weekly. 
1 „ linseed oil daily. 

3 >) yegetables such as pumpkins, vegetables, onions, and radishes. 

6 dr. salt. 

4 „ cuny stuff. 

This was a very different thing from the 1-lb. grain ration of the 
civil relief works. But even the new scale inti-oduced last July, 
and still in force as an experiment, can give us nothing more than 
an idea of the insufficiency of that unfortunate food standard. The 
new scale for hard labour is :— 

20 oz. of their own country grain daily. 
4 „ of meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. 
4 „ of dhall 5 times weekly. 
\ „ of linseed oil daily. 
6 „ of vegetables. 
6 dr. salt. 
4 „ curry stuff. 

The scale has thus been reduced by 4 oz. grain, 1 oz. meat, 1 oz. dhall, 
I oz. linseed oil, and 2 oz. vegetables. But the mutton, which is 
weighed whole before it is hashed up into a kind of soup, necessarily 
contains a large quantity of bone. Prisoners on hard labour for 
three moifths, and all non-labour prisoners, women and boys, receive 
a still smaller allowance : — 

19 oz. of their own country grain. 

3 „ dhalL 

6 „ vegetables. 
6 dr. salt 

4 „ curry stuff. 
4 „ cil. 


This last is the dietary scale to which the present state of things is in 
great proportion due. The reduced rations have very different effects 
upon the hard lahour and non- labour prisoners. The women, a few 
of whom cook in every gaol, while the great majority have nothing 
but light work to do, have been affected less than any. The males 
committed without hard labour have not yet suffered very severely, 
but when we come to the men undergoing hard labour for three 
months on this reduced ration we see the cruellest result of the ex* 
periment. But sickness, languor, and inability to execute a due share 
of taskwork, are to be found in both classes whenever hard labour 
is required. Experts in the gaols tell us that the reduced rations 
might perhaps suffice — though even here they are doubtful — ^for people 
who had absolutely nothing to do, but that the reduction begins to 
tell immediately they are put to a task. This, too, was the experience 
of those who managed the relief camps and relief works. In the 
gaols, as we said, the effect of the change has been disastrous. During 
the year 1876 the rate of mortality in the Bombay House of Correc- 
tion was only 19*5 per mille. But with the introduction of the new 
scale the rate of mortality in one of the great gaols in our Presidency, 
has recently been upwards of 96 per mille. In the Bombay House of 
Correction the daily average sick from all diseases in 1876 was only 
4*6 per cent. The present daily average sick in one of the Presidency 
gaols is more than 9 per oent.^ with an additional 4^ per cent, of con- 
valescents. In the hospitals food is given liberally, and even as much 
as 4 oz. of alcohol is daily administered if required. The prisoners 
take their turn here to be recruited, and, but for these periods ot 
comparative luxury, the mortality, large enough already, would have 
been feir greater. At the same time they are not admitted until in 
some sort of danger, and the cost of restoring them cannot have been 
far short of the saving effected in their diet. The gaols are unusually 
full now, the extra prisoners being due to thefts and misdemeanours 
connected with the famine. Many of the famine prisoners were in 
a very weak state of health on admission, and the time chosen to 
change the diet experimentally, was, to say the least of it, unfor- 
tunate. In the course of our inquiries we heard of one wretched 
man in the famine districts who was driven by hunger to commit 
suicide. He was discovered in time, and punished by a term of im- 
prisonment on rations which aie slowly doing for him what he wickedly 
attempted himself. We also heard that the prisoners who grind the 
grain have now to be specially prevented from snatching and eating 
it raw. In bringing the matter before the public we are anxious that 
those who have had practical experience of the way the experiment 
has failed, should be invited or permitted to lay their opinions before 

256 - THE 1-LB. RATION. 

Goveminent. The gaolers, the gaol surgeons, and the official visitors 
are thoroughly convinced of the necessity of an immediate inquiry. 
Scientific men may tell us that carho-hydrates, albuminates, and fats 
mixed in a proper proportion constitute the ideal ration, and a set of 
tables may teach us the chemical value of every food under the 
Indian sun. But when we learn that half a pound of pulse contains 
142 grains of the essential nitrogen, half a pound of bajri 56 grains, 
and half a pound of rice only 40 grains, we begin to see that the 
cooking of a day's meal, to contain exactly 201*6 grains of nitrogen, 
and 400*1 grains of carbon, requires as much scientific knowledge 
and care as the concoction of a doctor's prescription, or the perform* 
anoe of a chemical experiment. A pound of grain food, nicely 
assorted from various cereals in a chemist's laboratory, must be a 
very different thing from a poimd of bajri or rice served out to hun- 
dreds or thousands of men in a gaol or a relief camp. But the failure 
of a scale of diet which, at worst, was almost twice as good as the 
famous 1-lb. ration' should prevent any repetition of the one mistake 
made in the treatment of the late famine. If all the questions con- 
nected with the famine are, as we hear, to be submitted to a Paxlia- 
mentary Committee, the evidence as to the working of this new scale 
of diet in the. Presidency gaols will be of the greatest importance. 


No. 568. Office of Sanitary Commissioner, 

Madras, May 24, 1877. 



The Sanitary Commissioner ^ Madras, 

ITie Additional Secretary to Government. 

Sir, — ^With reference to the discussion in regard to the amount of 
food necessary for the maintenance of health of natives of India, I have 
the honour to state for the information of His Grace in Council, that 
feeling strongly the importance of the subject, I forwarded to Professor 
Sir Bobert Chiistison, Bart., of Edinburgh, a copy of Proceedings of 
Government, No. 757, of March 1, containing my letter. No. 115, of 
February 13, and requested Sir Bobert Christison to be good enough 
to advise me whether my protest against the reduction of the famine 
relief wage to the basis of one pound of cereal grain a day, was or 
was not justified by scientific and practical observation, in regard to 


dieiAties. I have now to submit for the information of Government a 
copy of Sir Bobert Ohristison's reply. 

2. Sir Robert ChriBtison was not aware of the special inquii'y 
made in India in 1863, regarding the nature and amount of food con- 
sumed by the free population, and by prisoners in gaols. The results 
of this inquiry went to show that in the South of India, at least, the 
people were not so entirely dependent on grain diet as superficial 
writers have frequently asserted. It was shown that the so-called 
vegetarian castes used milk, curds, and butter, to a large extent, in 
their food, while the great bulk of the labouring poor used animal food 
and pulses rich in nitrogen whenever they could get them, and that 
their staple food grains were richer than rice in albimiinous consti- 
tuents. It was a direct consequence of this inquiry that the gaol diets 
in this Presidency were revised in 1867, and the effect of this change 
was, as already pointed out, a reduction of mortality from more than 
10 per cent, to an average for the last nine years of about 2^ per cent. 

3. As this subject is one of great public interest, I would suggest 
that Sir Bobert Ghristison's opinion may be placed at the disposal of 
the press. 

I have the honour to be. Sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 
(Signed) W. B. Cornish, f.r.c.s., 

Scmitary Commissioner, 


Edinburgh, April 18, 1877. 

Dear Dr. Cornish, — I received your letter a week ago, and the 
folio print yesterday. 

1. Mere practical experience is a very dangerous guide to a dietary 
for a body of men. The fact is, in this matter, what is called practical 
experience is nothing else than loose observation. I could mention 
many striking instances from practical men trusting to their practical 
experience. But perhaps Sir Bichard Temple will be satisfied with 
the history of the victualling of our troops for the Crimean war. The 
authorities at the Horse Guards provided the men with a dietary 
which proved to contain less real nutriment than their food in bar- 
racks or garrison at home, and not above one half of what was 
required for the labour and hardships which they had to undergo. 
Their hardships accounted of course in part for the sad result. But a 
suj£cient dietary would have enabled them to resist these hardships, 
as had been found before with our Navy seamen exposed to equal 
labour, and quite as great hardships of a diffei-ent kind. 

Sir Bichard Temple will find the facts I mention in the Crimean 


258 THE 1-LB, KATION. 

Beport of Sir John McNeill and Colonel TuUoch. But I may add 
that when Sir John on his return asked at the Horse Guards how 
they had fallen into such an error, he was told that they were not 
aware that there was any other way of valuing a dietary except 
practical ohservation. Nevertheless the analytical method was at 
that time well known to scientific men, had been taught by myself for 
twenty-two years to large classes, and would have pointed out the 
error in five minutes. 

2. But neither should scientific analysis be trusted to singly. It 
must be tested by practical observation, and the two methods 
together will supply trustworthy results. 

3. Caution ^ould be observed in applying the results of scientific 
inquiry in Europe to India. In all my investigations my subjects 
have been bodies of men of British race. 

Now there is something in the constitution of the grain-eating 
Indian races which seems in the course of ages to have adapted it to 
a very different dietary fi*om that found most suitable here. There 
can be no doubt whatever that men of British race do not thrive so 
well, and are incapable of much labour, unless their dietary contains a 
fair proportion either of the mixed albuminoid principles of meat or of 
albumen itself, animal or vegetable, or lastly of caseine, in the shape 
of milk ; but the long habit of ages seems to have rendered the Indian 
grain-eaters independent of any of these powerful aliments. Therefore 
you will see that a special inquiiy is required for ascertaining the 
dietary of these people suitable for them in the various circumstances 
of life. 

I am not aware of any such inquiry in India but one ; and that is 
a report by Dr. G. C. Sutherland in 1871, on the prisons of Oude. 

4. Dr. Sutherland, on entering on duty as Inspector-General, found 
the health of the prisoners very bad, the mortality being ten per cent. 
In two years he reduced it to two per cent. This was brought about 
by various changes, and among these by increasing somewhat and 
varying their food. I am very sorry that I have been unable to lay 
my hands on my notes on this interesting subject. 

Of course they will all be found in Dr. Sutherland's report, I 
now send, however, a copy of his table for prisoners undergoing hard 
labour. I cannot at present sustain this strain of computing the 
nutriment, but it may be seen at a glance that the nitrogenous food 
constitutes a large proportion of the whole. Of course you know 
nothing is more certain than that the nutriment in a dietary must 
increase with the amoimt of labour. 

5. In practically observing the effect of any experimental dietary 
the main test is to weigh the men every 14 days. If there is a pro- 
gressive diminution in a large proportion of them the dietaiy is faulty. 


and will ere long cause serious consequences. Dr. Sutherland found 
tliat under his improved scales of diet the men went out one pound 
heavier than on admission. 

6. In applying European ohservations to Tndia, account should be 
taken of the inferior bulk of the men. The average weight of about 
1,500 Oude prisoners was 106 pounds, without clothes. The average 
weight of the adult prisoners in the General Prison at Perth is 140 
pounds. It is plain, therefore, that men so different in bulk must 
reqtiire a material difference of food. 

7. The last point which occurs to me is that a very meagre &re 
will serve for prisoners and the destitute poor for short terms of a 
week or a fortnight, but that it would be a grievous error to suppose 
that the same fare will answer for long terms of sevenil months. 

This fact has been substantiated by careful observations expressly 
made here a few years ago. 

I am, yours truly, 

(Signed) R Christisok. 

P.S. — On the principles already explained, it is my opinion that 
the dietary proposed by Sir Richard Temple is both insufficient in 
quantity, and ill chosen. 


Dr. Sxttherlaud, 1871. 

I. BaUi/: 1, Wheat flour coarsely 

sifted and made into 

cakes. Taken with I. chtk.^ gn. oz, 

or XL . , . 10 = 20-26 

2. Grain, parched (eaten 

dry) . . . 2 =« 4*50 Cicer arietinum. 

3. Sa'.t . . . 100 « 0-2.3 

• 4. Pepper or Ohillies . 36 =■ 0*08 Capmcum armtfum, 

II. Four days weekly : 1. Dhall .2 - Ar&d From vaiious peas, 

2. Ghee boiled With 
pepper and salt into 
thick pea-soup . 30 = 008 Clarified btttfer. 

III. Three days xoeekly: 1. Fresh 

vegetables . . 6 « 12-16 Spinach, 
2. Oil boiled with pepper 
and salt into thick 

soup . . . 38 = 003 Mustard Oil 


' 1 chittack = 2 ounces, a standard of weight in the North- West Frovinces. 

s 2 

260 THE 1-LB. RATION. 

Notandum, — ' For some months after the autumn harvest ; maize and 
various sorts of miUet, Penicillaria spicata, Sorghum vulgare gns. are sub- 
stituted for wheat, being cheaper. Bat in consequence of their inferior 
nutritive value the daily allowance is increased to 24*70 ounces.' 

Feb. 8, 1871. (Signed) G. 0. Suthbrland, M.D. 

True copy, (Signed) W. R. Oorhibh, F.RO.S., 

Sanitary CommMoner for Madras. 



In the narrative of famine administration for Madras, 
particulars are given of the extraordinary activity 
which was manifested by the mercantile community 
in importing grain. The quantity imported by sea 
with its value will be found in the following table : — 

Avenge of 3 previous 

Actuals. 1877. 





6 Months. July \ 
cembor 1876 
January 1877 
February , 

July . 
December . 
January 1878 , 

bo De- 

Tons Cwt 

4,301 13 
6,913 14 
6,062 6 
3,881 19 
3,171 14 
6,966 16 
9,202 18 
8,820 13 

14,609 16 
20,689 3 
30,097 1 





Tons Cwt 

164,740 1 

76,969 16 
69,067 12 
48,397 19 
41,780 15 
37,806 2 
26,891 16 
57,028 8 
76,092 1 

66,270 15 

13,453 9 

9,001 3 

11,647 10 








Under any circumstances, with an open sea-board 
and with the enterprise which characterises the mercan- 
tile community of Madras, it was clear that imports 
would be large : the difficulty was to decide how the grain 
could be conveyed to the distressed districts. The rail- 
ways solved the question. Sir Andrew Clarke, from his 


place in the Legislative Council in Calcutta, in December 
1877, said: — ' The railways have proved the saviour of 
Southern India.' To this remark there can be no 
denial. By the Madras railways alone, 800,000 tons 
of grain were carried into the interior and distributed 
through the districts. As soon as the difficulty was 
seen, efforts were made to meet the increased traffic. 
Passenger trains were cancelled, and the carriage of 
grain was given the preference over all other descrip- 
tions of traffic. The line from Madras to Arconum 
was doubled to facilitate the conduct of traffic. One 
of the chief objects to which Sir Richard Temple 
directed his attention whilst in Southern India was 
that of increasing the carrying power of the railways, 
and with Captain Bisset, B.E., spent much time 
in consideration of this subject ; he penned a large 
number of minutes, which had some effect in relieving' 
great pressure at particular junctions, and in simplify- 
ing arrangements. The capabilities of the railways 
was a subject in which the Duke of Buckingham and 
Chandos, once chairman of the London and North- 
Western Railway in England, took particular interest, 
and over which his Grace spent much time. The 
Governor was ably assisted by the railway officials— 
particularly Mr. R. B. Elwin, the agent and manager, 
and Mr. Herbert Church, the traffic manager. Arrange- 
ments made by his Grace, when it was found that the 
railway was unable to carry off all the grain imported, 
caused much dissatis&ction among merchants. Railway 
trucks were registered in advance, not according to the 
largeness of the trade of the importer, but according 
to order of application. The consequence was that two 
or three trucks on a particular day would be reserved for 
a firm which had chartered three or four steamers, one 
or two of which were at the time unloading, and a whole 


truck to Parthasarathy Chettiar, who never imported on 
his own account, but bought a few hundred bags of rice 
for transit up country, or it might be who had no grain 
of his own whatever, and was merely making a profit in 
selling the trucks allotted to him to others. Many repre- 
sentations were made to Government, but no improved 
system was introduced. A merchant in the south of 
the Presidency, writing to the author, says: — 

The Govemment scheme for granting arailahle trucks to all 
registered applicants attracted some 1,200 to 1,400 men belonging to 
Tatioorin and the district, with the certainty of drawing an occasional 
prize. Many of the sncceesful applicants sold their tracks to im- 
porters, others taking advantage of the stocks held by importers, and 
their inability to move them along the line of rail or to promise 
carriage to customers, bought importers' grain at their own prices, 
that is at prices dictated to importers not by consumers, but by the 
Qovemor^s order. The cousequence was that petty dealers who would 
have otherwise bought grain along the line, and cartmen who would 
have worked out rice, thus supplementing the railway power, were 
drawn to Tuticorin, and in combination with their friends in the 
district, virtually held the markets in the face of the importers, who 
had to incur the long risk and supply the capital. It may be asked 
why, under such circumstances, did not importers engage in the cart 
trade alluded to. The reply is simple. Importers had no ftcilities in 
knowing the demand of every isolated village, and would have been 
imposed upon at every turn. Besides, the order opened a very wide 
door for bribing railway officials. Natives who recognised the order 
as unjust applied the only antidote they knew of. 

The Governor's order was defective and actually injurious, with- 
out, as far as I can discover, any redeeming virtue. 

(1) Because it disturbed the action of many petty dealers and 
cartmen, who were in the habit of resorting tg Tuticorin to purchase 
and take away grain in carts. 

(2) Because it discouraged importers, who frequently lost in 
their imports for the sole benefit of truck dealers. 

(3) Because it increased the price to consumers of the interior, 
giving truck dealers the command of the market here and in the 
interior, raising up middlemen who were pernicious. 

(4) Because it fostered bribery amongst native railway employ^. 
In a country stricken by famine I conceive the ruling power 

should seek to attract early imports, and strain every nerve to sustain 



them at the highest possible level. This can be best done in a steady 
and effectiye way by letting importers pocket every available pie per 
bag that consumers are out of pocket. It becomes a struggle between 
the two. The grand object must be to keep on terms with importers, 
and secure to consumers the lowest possible rates that importers wiU 
go on cU. Stimulate the importer to import his bags for one, and 
the true policy is achieved. Help the importer to consider 8 as. 
profit on two bags of grain as equal to a rupee on one bag, and though 
truck dealers may object, the consumer will reap the benefit. Such a 
policy would have been an intelligent policy, and under such a policy 
profits would have been held at a minimum for the benefit of con- 
sumers, instead of being turned into a loss for the benefit of truck 

The Governor of Madras had it in his power to say to importers, 
* The railway carriage is insufficient to supply the country with the 
food required, but as you find the capital and run the risk, neither of 
which the Government will undertake and guarantee, a fair distribu- 
tion will be made of all available carriage on a pro raid footing, ac- 
cording to the capital invested and the risk undertaken.' On the other 
hand he had it in his power to say, ' Importers may import as much 
as they like, but the carrying power of the country shall be given to 
the non-importer in equal proportion with that given to importers, and 
as there will be fifty non-importers against every importer, the im- 
porter shall be kept at a distance from the consumer, and from the mo- 
nopoly of the carrying power in the non-importer's hands. Importers 
must submit to their values without reference to the consumer's price.' 

It is almost incredible that the Governor chose the latter, and 
persisted in it in the fEioe of representations and expostulations frx)m 
all the commercial circles of the Presidency. Though I have seen fifty 
reasons against his policy, I have never seen one in its fiivour that 
would bear investigation. 

My experience is that my imports would have gone into con- 
sumers' hands at least 8 annas per bag cheaper, and my imports and 
profits would have been larger, if the Governor had adopted the first 
line of action. Presuming this to be the experience of other importers, 
the upshot is, that on the imports, say 13,000,000 of bags, a sum more 
than equal to the Mansion House Belief Fund has been forced out of 
consumers' pockets for the benefit of middlemen, and to the injury of 

What was expected from the Madras Railway at the 
period of the Viceroy's visit will appear from the fol- 
lowing passages occurring in a despatch from Lord 


Lytton to the Marquis of Salisbury. Lord Lytton 
said : — 

Much discuflsion has taken place during the past week on the 
working and the requirements of the Madras Railway. Seventeen 
additional engines and 100 waggons have, during August^ heen 
horrowed from other lines and sent to Madras : 100 more waggons 
will shortly arrive from the Baroda line; the Madras Bailway is 
receiving from England six to eight new poweiful engines per month ; 
200-metre-gauge waggons are on their way (some have actually 
arrived) from State lines for work on the South Indian Bailway. 
The douhle line frt>m Madras to Aroonum has heen opened for traffic. 
The despatches of grain from the Madras terminus are reaching 1,800 
tons a day, while the despatches inland frt>m Kegapatam and Beypore 
are keeping up to the mark. I anticipate that the several Madras 
railways will, if grain he consigned in sufficient quantities, despatch 
inland the full quantity required daily, namely : — 

From Madras terminus by the Madras Railway . . 1,800 

„ Beypore 400 

„ Raichore 900 

By the South Indian Railway 800 

I, canal and road from Madras 600 

Total 4,600 

Under these circumstances the Grovemment of India have for 
the present refrained from compelling other guaranteed lines, by 
forced Government requisition, to lend more rolling stock than they 
can willingly spare to the Madras Railway ; and we are the more 
anxious not to make requisitions, if it can possibly be helped, because 
the other railways have loyally obeyed our request for loans of rolling 
stock as far as they possibly could, and because we do not know what 
urgent need may spi*ing up for grain transport in other ports of the 
Empire which are threatened with scarcity. 

Though the Madras railways, by working full power, can thus 
almost meet the necessities of the case, yet it is by no means certain 
that they can continue to do so, or that they will be prepared for new 
demands which may arise if the north-east monsoon fails. Some of 
their engine and waggon stock is very old, and may become unservice- 
able before the crisis is over ; the northern railways may, if difficulty 
comes in Upper India, have to reclaim the engines they have lentw 
In order therefore to provide against possible difficulties, we have 
telegraphed to your Lordship supporting the Madras Government in 
their indent of August 17 for 20 more engines, 600 waggons, and 40 


brak^vanfl ; and we have aaked for 20 more engineB in addition to the 
Madras indent. You have informed us by telegraph that 500 of these 
waggons will reach India within ten weeks' time. We hope that this 
additional stock, together with 30 new heavy engines now arriTing, 
will enable the Madras railways to meet all emergencies. We have 
asked that the 40 new engines should, for reasons explained in my 
colleagues' railway letter, quoted in paragraph 10 of the present letter, 
form part of the State reserve of engines. 

It has been mentioned that the railways will cany the required 
amount of grain, if only it is consigned by the trade. And upon the 
question whether private trade will send into the famine country all 
t^e grain that is required, the safety of the people depends. It can- 
not be said that the trade sends all the country can take, for the dear 
prices ruling in so many districts would show that more grain would 
be readily bought, if sent. But this much is certain ; private trade 
is still consigning to the famine coantry much more grain than the 
railways can carry into the interior. In previous letters we have 
reported that more than 100,000 tons of grain are awaiting despatch 
at or near the railway stations in the Central Provinces. The Bengal 
exportable sutplus, if the crop now in the ground turns out well, will 
not fall short of 350,000 tons. Already 100,000 tons of fineight» 
chiefly steamer freight, has been taken up for de«patch of grain from 
Calcutta to Madras ports during the present month. The actual 
despatches of rice from Bengal to Madras were 53,225 tons, or an 
average of 3,800 tons daUy, during the fortnight ending August 29. 
The despatches from Burmah to Madras were only 400 tons during 
the same period ; so that there would seem to be truth in the opinion, 
generally expressed by merchants, that the Burmah rice ports have no 
more grain to send till next crop comes to market in December. 
From Saigon it was reported that 150,000 tons were ready for export, 
but that most of this would go to China, where also there is a large 
famine demand. But a telegram from the Governor of the Straits 
Settlements, dated September 1, has told us that the Siamese Govern- 
ment has prohibited the export of rice from Bankok until September 
30, on account of the threatened dearth in those territories. At the 
same time the Persian Government has prohibited grain exportation 
from Bushire. It would seem therefore that, for the present, India 
cannot expect food supplies frx)m fruiher Asia, but must send the sur- 
plus of the north to supply the deficiency of the south. For the 
present, and so far as we can foresee, any grain imported by Govern- 
ment would occupy raUway waggons to the exclusion of private 
despatches, and would paralyse trade to an indefinite extent. 



The work actually performed by the various rail- 
ways converging upon and running through the Madras 
Presidency will be found in the following series of 
tables, kindly prepared at the author's request by the 
Railway Department : — 


Stateiceitt BHownre the Quaivtity of Grain forwabdbd from the 




a I. Ry. 

Bey pore 










Rs. As P 

August . 






76,822 16 9 

September . 






98,429 12 







206,638 3 







248,096 10 







392,101 14 






397,133 1 







830,630 1 

March . 






423,361 10 

April . 






418,881 6 U 

May . 






411,479 9 







437,204 6 

July . 






483,047 2 

August . 






644,684 4 

September . 






482,042 4 







293,060 11 







294,344 4 







6,636,947 16 9 


■I' 3^ J 

1 a 

I I 

•^ I 

I 3 


1 1. 

i E 

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Railway extension forms an important feature in the 
famine policy of the future, as described in Sir John 
Strachey's speech in the Legislative Council in Decem- 
ber 1877. The value of railways and good roads con- 
nected with them, without which their fiill usefulness 
cannot be developed, is very great indeed. Their 
effect on prices also, uTespective of the actual carriage 
of the grain, is an element to be considered. The 
knowledge that in a few days at most, large supplies 
can be imported, keeps down excessive prices, which an 
increased demand is likely to produce. The impossi- 
bility of forming a correct estimate of the quantity 
of stored grain — the knowledge, if it exists, being con- 
fined to the class who deal in the produce — renders 
the grain trade to outsiders one of great risk. Grain 
dealers naturally wish to make the maximum of profit, 
and the stores are withheld until competition is roused. 
A famine or scarcity is the grain-dealer's opportunity, 
and he cannot, more than any other trader, be blamed 
for making the most of his opportunity. While rail- 
ways afford the quickest mode of transit and equalise 
supply, they are not alone the saviour of the people. 
Grain may be poured into a district, but the poor and 
the destitute must be enabled to purchase it. Thousands 
may starve in the midst of plenty, as can be seen in 
every metropolis, even in the greatest of the world. In 
the Irish famine there were ships and ports, and means 
of transport, but the people had to be helped to purchase. 






Elsewhere the story has been told of the dispute 
between the Governments of India and Madras re- 
garding purchase of grain ; the policy of the former 
has been vindicated. A few considerations, apart from 
the actual circumstances which caused so much and 
such angry feelings, may be of interest. The expres- 
sion * free ' as regards trade applies more properly to 
an unrestricted or unburdened trade than to one in 
which Government is directly concerned. Taking the 
expression, however, in the latter sense, which is now 
meant, it may be well to examine the condition of 
things in former famines, and weigh the result of non- 
intei'vention and the result of intervention. In the 
Orissa famine more than a million of people died of 
starvation, the result of non-intervention. This was 
justly considered a blot on British administration, and 
action likely to have a similar result was studiously 
avoided in the subsequent Bengal famine. But if the 
causes of the Orissa &mine be enquired into and the 
cost of the Government transport of grain be calculated, 
it will be found that grain was not imported into Orissa 
from causes which equally prevented Government aid 
and also private trade from taking adequate action. 
The coast was shut by the monsoon, and there were 
no roads. A railway to Orissa from Calcutta would 
have prevented the loss of life, but without such means 
of communication neither Government nor private trade 
could help the people. 

T 2 

276 ^free' trade in famine times. 

The carriage of grain from a dear to a cheap place 
is evidently not an economical remedy ; it is a question 
of carrying facilities. In the Bengal famine, on the 
other hand, there were no such conditions as existed in 
Orissa. There was not a tempestuous sea-coast, nor an 
isolated territory. Roads existed ; they were not cut to 
pieces by the abnormal traffic. Government and private 
grain passing and repassing on the same roads. Such 
was the result, most disastrous to the revenue, of 
Government interference in 1874, and so strong was the 
impression it left on the Government oflndia, that strict 
non-interference with private trade has now become a 
recognised policy. In a distressed district, where prices 
are higher than elsewhere, trade seeks that district as 
a matter of course. Government, however, have still 
to aid the distressed. In the Bellary district in the 
Madras Presidency in 1866, when prices were abnormal 
on account of distress, trade never ceased. The dis* 
trict had prospered in former years by good cotton 
prices. The harvests had been scanty, but wages had 
kept up, and grain poured into the district for months 
before the crisis of distress. There was no railway 
then, and want of water and fodder made trade very 
difficult ; nevertheless traffic kept on. 

An attempt was made to import some tons of grain 
for the use of the destitute. The grain was given 
gratis by Government at Bangalore. It was carried 
half-way to Bellary for nothing, but the double cost of 
carriage the other half-way to Bellary made the grain 
as dear as it was in the worst time of distress. More- 
over, the carriage broke down, the contractors failed, 
the bullocks died of femine and the drivers of cholera. 
There was, therefore, no effectual competition with 
native transport or prices. 

It is not in the least to be supposed that there can 


be a saving of money by Government carriage rather 
than by native carriage. Government always pays 
extra, and its agents have not the stimulus of private 
profit. Personal interest produces the greatest effect 
all over the world, and Government support is only 
claimed by schemes not sufficiently remunerative. To 
buy dear and sell cheap is not an uncommon occurrence 
in Government operations; but this, though not affect- 
ing Government, would soon terminate the career of 
a merchant. 

When means of communication are open to a district 
free trade enters, and all Government competition 
with that trade is only and wholly evil. Private 
traders can make much better bargains as regards 
carriage than Government. Their distribution is more 
economical, and self-interest is admitted to be the 
greatest factor in all such transactions. The argument, 
therefore, that Government can intervene with advan- 
tage when private trade cannot, is unsound when the 
subject is fully investigated. Government has a func- 
tion to perform, it has to save the lives of its subjects ; 
but it does so most effectually when it constructs roads 
and thus facilitates trade, and when by giving wages to 
the destitute it enables them to buy food and live. A 
case occurred in the time of the famine of 1866, in a 
district next to Orissa, which was overflowed by the 
destitute from that province. Grain was sent by a 
mercantile firm from Madras, and had to be sold for 
less than prime cost ; it had to compete with Govern- 
ment grain sent there, and yet the famine was not 
stopped by the comparative cheapness of grain in the 
distressed district. The real relief would have been to 
have enabled the distressed to buy the grain; to have 
employed the poor at liberal wages. When wages are 
good trade is active, and the converse holds good. 


Trade follows profit. It may, of course, be argued 
that it would be cheaper for Government to pay wages 
with grain, but there are many difficulties and draw- 
backs in payment with so bulky a commodity — ^trans- 
port, storage, distribution, the liability to damage and 
to peculation. But whenever Government, with its 
indifference to loss, deals in grain, it paralyses private 
trade, which cannot make head against so fonnidable 
a competitor. In the anxiety to save life conditions of 
trade are overlooked. Wherever, on the contrary, there 
are open communications, private trade has been found 
equal to the emergency, only Government has its part 
still to play in enabling the destitute to purchase food. 

The question is wholly one of open communications. 
As regards relief when communications are open, 
Government has a choice; it may attract destitute 
persons from a distressed district by offering work 
and wages out of the distressed locality, or it may 
open remunerative public works, if such are feasible, 
in the locality. It is a question of comparative 
economy ; it may be more economical to carry the 
man to the work than to carry the work to the man. 
When people starve in the midst of cheap prices, their 
destitution must be great. 



In respect to administration each district, in the 
Madras Presidency at least, was, during the famine 
period, an imperium in imperio. The mode and order 
of relief adopted may, therefore, be fairly understood if 
the procedure of one district is given. The district of 
Coimbatore is, perhaps, above the average in careful 
famine administration, its collector having had expe- 
rience in Bellary in a similar disaster in 1866. It may, 
however, be useful to cite it for the purpose of illustra- 
tion. In this district the Government relief was origi- 
nally confined to public works organised by the collector 
and his division officers. A forecast of the results of the 
failure of the north-east monsoon in 1876 had been made 
about the latter end of November. In December a plan 
of works was prepared, tools procured, gangs organised, 
and work began wherever the need arose. No stoppage 
or hitch of any kind occurred. The repair of the neg- 
lected village road was first taken in hand, and cart 
tracks, indeed fair roads, leading to villages substituted 
for the narrow, cactus-overgrown, stony ravines, to which 
want of funds and neglect had reduced these tracks. The 
storage of metal for the trunk roads, in which, for want of 
maintenance funds, they had always been deficient, was 
carried on to an enormous extent. Stones were collected 
and broken, and arranged in neatly measured piles along 
the lines of the main road. The storage was effected, 


never above, but often below, the ordinary rates. Ne- 
glected irrigation channels were cleared of silt, a work 
well suited for the unskilled labourer. The irrigational 
capacity of the district could not be increased : every 
river had been laid under contribution, and there 
was more land fitted for irrigation than water, even in 
good seasons, but in a year like that of the famine the 
rivers were very low, and their supply failed to reach 
the lower channels. Much sanitary improvement of 
villages was carried out. In Erode, Caroor, and Dhara- 
puram, the glacis of the forts was levelled and ditches 
tilled up, and obstructions to ventilation removed. At 
Coimbatore town valuable work was carried out by the 
reclamation of a swamp close to the town which was 
caused by the ebb and flow of an irrigation tank. The 
silt in the bed was excavated and carried to the shallow 
swampy part, which was raised above high water level, 
thereby adding thirty or forty acres of valuable land 
which was immediately utilised as a plantation. The 
water space was contracted and deepened, so that there 
was less surface evaporation, and the salubrity of the 
town, which used to suflFer from fever and cholera, 
greatly improved. The cost of this work was about 
600 rs. an acre, and the mean depth of silt removed 
about 4^ feet. 

The superintendence of all famine works fell on the 
revenue oflScers from January till October, when the 
professional department relieved them of this onerous 

For the destitute and suffering private charity was 
at first organised, then supplemented by State funds, 
and, finally, wholly superseded by them when the 
increasing distress put it out of the power of former 
contributora to continue their subscriptions. Room, 
however, was again found for relief funds when British 

CLOSED camps; their drawbacks. 283 

munificence was made available, and in no district was 
that charity better disbursed. 

The first mode of relief adopted was the distribution of 
cooked food to persons with tickets; the next was large 
camps with sleeping accommodation for the houseless, 
and daily task-work. The final arrangement was that of 
closed camps, where the inmates were shut up as a con- 
dition of relief. This mode of relief, even though modified 
to suit the various castes, was abhorrent to the habits and 
feelings of the people, and induced a great reduction of 
numbers who preferred liberty and the chance of alms to 
confinement. Ranges of leaf huts, within inclosures, 
with sanitary appliances, were constructed. The accom- 
modation was comfortable and the food good, but still 
the confinement was unpopular, and thousands elected 
to return to their villages rather thaii remain in a closed 
camp. The worst feature in this was that the parents 
took away their children with them, and these were 
those who mostly profited in condition by the food 
given in camps. To each large camp was attached an 
hospital — much needed, as famine diseases of dysentery, 
diarrhoea, and dropsy were frequent. The hospitals, with 
their wards, dispensaries, and all needful accommodation, 
were also constructed of cocoanut leaves ; raised plat- 
forms were constructed for the patients, and mats and 
clothing provided. The great difliculty, when many 
people are congregated in a certain space, is sanitation. 
The Coimbatore camps were inspected by the Viceroy on 
his visit to Southern India, and his Excellency recorded 
his approval of them, but thought the expenditure rather 
extravagant. The constant supervision of camps, with- 
out which great evil would have resulted, was a severe 
tax on the collector and his assistants. In fact, the super- 
vision of work for nine months, and camps for fifteen. 


involving incessant travelling, physical toil, and con* 
tinuous mental anxiety, was a strain on the strongest 
constitutions. This was also all extra work. In October, 
when the famine began to ebb, additional officers were 
sent from the Bengal Presidency, but their ignorance 
of the language and their taking up the time of the 
superior native officials who had to attend on them and 
interpret for them, were considerable drawbacks to their 
usefulness. In fact, it seems doubtful whether more 
good would not have resulted from employing a less 
number of local officers acquainted with the people 
and their language. 

So far the experience of one district in its general 
relief operations. Particulars may follow of the practice 
adopted for relief of paupers generally, which was only 
decided upon after much consideration and accepted as 
containing in it the teaching of much experience. 

The first principle of gratuitous relief was that the 
aid should be given in the shape of cooked food. 
There might be various modes of fraud connected with 
the purchase of grain, its issue and the accounting for 
the same ; but when relief houses were well supervised, 
the food reached the people, and the children especially 
showed its beneficial effect. When a man does not 
supervise the issue of grain to his horses, from want of 
time or other cause, be has one test in their condition ; 
and when condition steadily improved among the 
young, the relief was shown to be efficacious. 

There was, however, another theory started, viz., the 
food for man, woman, and children being alike in 
quality and only differing in quantity, it was suggested, 
and the local Government adopted the suggestion, that 
a dole of money should be substituted for cooked food. 
The mother it was argued would purchase with the 
money milk and appropriate diet for her child. Milk, 


however, after the cows had cfied, was not procurable 
to the ordinary purchaser. Only the better classes had 
been able to preserve their cows during the period 
of drought, and although they might, as a favour, sell 
the same to the collector for use in a famine camp, 
they would not part with it to outside applicants. 

It was found, as a knowledge of native character 
might have predicted, that though the mother had an 
animal affection for her child^ yet in very many cases 
she loved tobacco and betel nut more. Paupers were 
found lying starved on the it>ads with t')bacco in their 
possession and some small coins. They had indulged 
in these luxuries in preference to the necessaries of life. 
Infant life could not safely be left to the tender mercies 
of an ignorant parent. In some districts the cooked 
food relief which was first approved by Government 
was never changed for a more dubious charity. 

As regards the recipient of State relief the degrada- 
tion of appearing at the relief house was some test in 
preventing the better classes from partaking of the 
charity of Government until dire hunger compelled 
them to do so. In the towns, large sheds were built of 
bamboos and cocoanut leaves, gigantic caldrons allowed 
of rice being cooked m bagsfuU, people were made to sit 
in order, and the attendants carried round the food 
generally and gave the recipient the contents of a tin 
measure of rice ; next followed another attendant, who 
distributed a savoury mess of tamarind and pepper with 
an ounce or so of dhall and salt which gave a flavour to 
the otherwise insipid rice. In some districts work of a 
light nature wbls given to those who partook of the food, 
but it was optional to all to stay during the night in 
sheds or obtain other shelter. In one district the 
children were for their own good, and to provide them 
with occupation, taught their letters. 


One argument in favour of the district camp system 
was that it introduced order. The inmates were, by 
the fence surounding, debarred from going away. In 
spite of this, however, they climbed walls, squeezed 
through barricade hedges of prickly pear, and frequently 
would be afterwainis found dying on the roads. This 
sort of imprisonment was, as has been already said, most 
oflFensive to the character of the people. And it must 
be admitted that the large concourse of people which 
prevented the possibility of separate accommodation for 
each family was repugnant to those who wished to 
preserve self-respect. They would come early in the 
morning, work the whole day for their meals, and go 
home or anywhere at night, but they would not endure 
being shut up at nights, as in a gaol, with inferior food 
and house-accommodation. Be the idea of the natives 
right or wrong, their repugnance to closed camps was 

The next system adopted was the money dole, sup- 
posed to be given on house-to-house visitation. When 
a famine is sore in the land, and ten to twenty per cent, 
of the population have to be relieved, and the number 
of relieving officers is necessarily few, there is no help 
but to entrust to some degree the head of the village 
with the distribution of money dole. The immemorial 
practice of India, and perhaps other countries, is to pay 
a percentage on favour bestowed by subordinate official 
influence. Those who were convicted of the offence of 
receiving part of the money dole were punished, but the 
evil was universal, and even those who were paid from 
the hand of an unimpeachable distributor voluntarily 
contributed a percentage to the village official who had 
enrolled their names as proper objects of relief. House- 
to-house visitation, the preparation of correct lists, may 
be feasible in a small country, and with a sufficient staff 


of honest controllers, but where recipients counted by 
thousands, over thousands of square miles, it is a 
gigantic operation, and one not likely to be properly 
controlled. There are limits to human power. The story 
is told of one collector, on the receipt of a list of alleged 
proper recipients for the money dole, which had been 
forwarded by the village officer, inspected and certified 
by the inspector, and perused by the tahsildar, who, not 
being satisfied with the list, deputed a European officer to 
make enquiry. This officer paraded the proposed reci- 
pients, and found not one in real need of relief. 

The relief camp is intended to provide temporarily 
for those who are able to work,^ and permanently (that 
is as long as they require it) for those who are sick 
and unable to do any considerable amount of work 
through old age and infirmity. The temporary cases 
are those where applicants come for labour and the 
relief officer is not able at the time to provide them 
with labour; he must not turn them away, but must 
relieve them in the camp and work them there till he 
can draft them on to a relief work. The relief camp 
may also be used as a rest house for gangs on their 
way to a relief work who come with an order from 
the relief officer entitling them to food and shelter 
for the night. There is further the case of the emi- 
grants' rest house which will be treated separately. 

The permanent cases are those who are not so 
decrepit and bedridden as to require village relief, but 
who are not fit to be sent on to a relief work, or to 
look after themselves and cook for themselves. They 
are the least efficient portion of those who are not fit 
to be put into Class II. They include those who are in 

^ Tiie description ie fiN)m Mr. 0. A. Elliott s Famine Code. 


bad health but not ill enough to be put into hospital, 
and those who are convalescents and have just left 

Nothing but cooked food is given at relief camps, 
the ration being one pound of rice or of ragi flour plus 
three pies' worth of condiments for an adult, and half the 
quantity for a child over seven, plus two pies. A 
chapter in the Code on special treatment applies equally 
to special cases in relief camps. No raw rations are 
permitted. The daily food is given in two meals, 
morning and evening, at about 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

The two conditions on which food is given at a 
relief camp are residence and work. For this reason 
the camp must be enclosed and admission or exit only 
be possible by a gate at which a guard is constantly 
posted. Suflicient accommodation must be provided 
inside for the usual population of the camp, with a 
margin over for any exceptional influx. Every person 
in the camp must be put to some work, however slight, 
except those who are actually sick. The feeblest old 
woman can spin a little thread, and others can carry a 
light basket of sand to throw on the floor, or card 
cotton, or pick wool, and those who are a little stronger 
can collect and break stones. For the sake of their 
health and spirits and self-respect, it is better they 
should do this than that they should sit idle all day. 

The establishment should consist of paupers as far 
as possible. The only paid oflScials should be the 
superintendent, the accountant, and the hospital assist- 
ant; but one rupee per month may be paid to the 
overseers and to the head cook in addition to food. 
Carpenters and blacksmiths if required may be called 
in and paid in cash. But all other servants of the 
camp should be paid in food, or in raw grain if their 
caste requii-es it, and should as far as possible be ap- 


pointed from among the paupers themselves, not from 

The duty of the superintendent is general super- 
vision. He is responsible for examining the supply 
of grain received from the contractor, testing its 
quantity and quality, and entering it in the stock 
register, also for seeing that it is securely kept in a safe 
chamber under a good lock or sufficient guard. He is 
bound to be always present at feeding time, to see 
that the food is well cooked and the amount of it correct, 
to see that the paupers are properly organised into 
gangs and parties, are set to work at labour suitable to 
their capacities and do a sufficient quantity of the work; 
and that all members of the establishment do their duty 
punctually and thoroughly. He will muster the estab- 
lishment every day and record their attendance in a 
register. He will also receive daily from the taluk 
relief officer all new admissions, will assort them into 
gangs, and see that their names are entered by the 
overseer on his muster roll. 

The gangs are to be organised according to their 
capacity for work, and also, where necessary, according 
to their caste, provided they are not thereby split up 
into too small numbers. If the numbers are small, 
persons of good caste can be allowed to sit a little apart 
in working and eating from other members of the gang, 
and can have a portion of the shed walled off for them 
while still continuing to be numbered in the gang. 
The number of a gang should usually be about 40 or 
50 ; when the work is sedentary, like spinning or stone- 
breaking, it may be more ; when the labourers are 
scattered over a large space, as on stone-collecting, it 
should be less. The gangsman or head cooly should 
ordinarily be a respectable illiterate resident of the 
taluk in distressed circumstances, who is glad to accept 

VOL. II. u 


the post for the wages of a ration half as large again 
as the ordinary one, i.e. \\ lbs. of grain, which may be 
given raw. The organisation of the gangs should be 
kept as uniform as possible, so that people may know 
their work and their place and each other; they should 
sleep in the same shed, eat meals in the same place, and 
after meals go together to the same work in the same 
place, as nearly as possible. 

This establishment, which consists of cooks, water- 
carriers, rice cleaners or grinders, guards, and sweepers, 
should be kept down to a moderate strength, and should 
as far as possible be recruited from the paupers of the 
kitchen, or from respectable people of the taluk who 
are in distressed circumstances. As a rule they should 
be paid in grain, which may be given raw if desired, 
at the rate of \\ lbs., or for the most onerous 
tasks 2 lbs. a day ; but where the numbers are large, 
the head cook may in addition receive 1 r. per 
mensem. The number of each class of servants should 
be arranged on a sliding scale in proportion to the 
number of paupers to be attended to. The number of 
cooks should probably be about 1 per cent., but more 
may be required where rice is cooked than where ragi, 
and where the resident population is very feeble, more 
persons must be entertained to carry and distribute the 
cooked food than where there are able-bodied paupers 
who can be so employed. The number of water- 
women and of sweepers should be about the same as 
the cooks. But for the sick in hospital probably one 
sweeper will be required for 25 patients. The occupa- 
tion of rice-cleaning or ragi-grinding is one that can 
be suitably given to women of respectable castes ; two 
women in good health should easily grind thirty seers 
of ragi a day, or enough for sixty adults ; but if they 
are enfeebled, then two relays of two women each 


should be allowed for each mill. It is not intended in 
these rules to tie officers down to a too rigid uniformity, 
but every superintendent and taluk relief officer is 
expected to do all in his power to combine efficiency 
with economy. 

The orphans and children deserted by their parents 
should be formed into a separate gang, or if necessary 
two gangs of boys and girls separately, and clothed 
in a distinct uniform. As soon as preparations can be 
made to receive them, they should all be sent in to the 
relief camp at the district head-quarters, and not kept 
in outlying camps. The disposal of these orphans is 
in the hands of Government, and no officer id entitled 
to make any of them over to any society or private 
person without the special sanction of the Famine 

For want of sufficient and efficient European super- 
vision some of the camps were grossly mismanaged, 
and large sums of money were spent which ought 
never to have been expended ; instead of helping those 
in need, the fiinds supplied were squandered in minis- 
tering to village officials and their friends. A non- 
official gentleman w^ho, at great personal inconveni- 
ence and solely with a desire to benefit the people, 
secured order where before there was chaos, and who 
manaofed, at no cost to the State, a large camp for 
several months, has yielded to the request of the 
author of this work and has written a description of 
his experience. It is most valuable and interesting. 
He says : — 

* The daily allowance prescribed by Government for 

relief camps was to " ordinary diet paupers " about 

twenty-four ounces, and to " special diet paupers " about 

thirty-five ounces of uncooked solid food, and there is 

no doubt that it was enough to sustain life welL 



Dr. Dalton, the eminent physiologist, says : " The 
quantity of solid food required during twenty-four 
hours by a man in full health and taking free exercise 
in the open air, is rather less than 2i lbs. — ^that 
is, less than forty ounces." The daily allowance of 
the United States soldier^ during the American Civil 
War was thirty -five ounces of solid food, though it 
is said that many of the greatest marches of that war 
were executed when the troops did not receive over 
two-thirds of that amount — sometimes less than that 
proportion. It appears, therefore, that* the rations 
prescribed for relief paupers were not much inferior to 
those of soldiers on active duty, and they were certainly 
liberal. Moreover, when it was borne in mind that one 
or more relief camps existed as a rule in each taluk, 
responsibility for the frightful mortality in many parts 
can hardly be set to the account of district officials 
commissioned with the execution of the Government 

' Perhaps a few days' experience in a relief camp — 
believed not to be wholly an exceptional one — may cast 
a ray of light on this subject. 

* The camp was large enough to permit the feeding 
of several thousand people at once. It was furnished 
with kitchen, store-shed and hospital-sheds, and was 
in general well-arranged. Twenty cooks, a sufficient 
number of scavengers, peons, carts, &c., constituted 
the working force of the camp ; all being under the 
management of three gumastahs and a superintendent. 
The salaries of the establishment aggregated about two 
hundred rupees a month, an expenditure sufficient to 
warrant expectation of good results. 

* The writer of this narratiye of camp life served with the Federal 
troops in the American war, and was with Sherman in his march through 
Georgia, which accounts for the source whence the illustration is drawn. 


* Yet the number of destitute persons to be seen 
wandering in the streets and around the camp, the late 
hours for issuing food, and especially the frequency 
with which dead bodies were found lying iu out-of- 
the-way places, all indicated, to say the least, a 
want of efficient use of means at hand for relievins: 

* Thinking that perhaps something could be done to 
render the camp more efficient, the writer offered to 
supervise it during the severest months of 1877. The 
proposition was accepted, and the nati^^ officer at the 
head of the taluk gave over charge to me. He at the 
same time informed me that the camp was in good 
working condition, and that to guard against the ad- 
mission of unworthy persons, all applicants for relief 
were first examined at the taluk kachcheri* Those 
deemed worthy were furnished with tickets stamped with 
his own private seal, and only such ticket-holders were 
allowed in the camp. 

' On repairing to the camp in the evening to observe 
its work preparatory to assuming charge next day, 
I found a crowd said to number fourteen hundred in 
the enclosure. They were all arranged in divisions 
according to castes — Sudras, Mussalmans, Pariahs, and 
Chucklers — though many of those called Chucklers 
were in fact Christians and should have been so 
classed. Some eighty or more persons reported sick 
and on special diet were in a shed by themselves, and 
some twenty small-pox patients were in another shed 
at a little distance from the camp. There were, 
probably^ five hundred outside crying for admission, 
many of whom were, to use the medical officer's words. 
'' in the last stages of destitution/' while a glance at the 
ticket- holders would have led any intelligent man to 
suspect that many of those gratuitously fed were well 


able to earn wages on relief works. Especially notice- 
able was the number of young women who were either 
not accompanied at all by children, as was required, in 
order to entitle them to gratuitous relief, or had with 
them children whose extremely emaciated condition 
was in marked contrast with the physical appearance 
of their alleged mothers. 

' There were also many persons of both sexes who 
appeared to be well enough in other respects but seemed 
to be blind or lame, or crippled in arms, or had swollen 
joints wrapped in enormous rolls of leaves. These 
matters were noted for enquiry at a future time. 

' One of the first things that attracted attention after 
entering the camp was a group of gumastahs (overseers) 
seated on a mat enrolling new paupers ; one taking 
names, another writing tickets, and a third stamping 
the tickets with the tahsildar's private seal — all this a 
half-mile from the taluk kachcheri. 

'When I asked to have the officers and servants 
pointed out to me, it was found that there were a 
numl^er of fellows running here and there, apparently 
very busy guarding gates, keeping order, &c., whose 
names could not be found on the rolls. As they could 
not therefore receive cash payment for services, their 
presence was a source of some surprise. 

* Constables on guard could be seen at one minute 
several paces outside of the enclosure, making most 
energetic efibrts to drive back the crowd, and at the 
next would be as far within, shouting and scolding. 
While thus engaged in faithful discharge of their duty, 
numbers of persons availed themselves of the oppor- 
tunity afforded to glide in behind the guards and find 
seats in the crowd inside. 

' Supplies for the camp were purchased through one 
of the village merchants with whom a regular account 










GUARD §1 |.|} 



H 08 PITA C 







• ■ \ \ 

f ■ . 



c ' 


was kept. Orders for supplies were sent daily, and the 
supplies were generally obtained in the bazaar by this 
merchant. No examination of grain bags was made 
to determine the quality of their contents, nor were any 
consignments tested to see whether the quantity re- 
turned was equal to that ordered and paid for by the 
Government. Persons accustomed to do business in 
an Indian bazaar need not be told what possibilities 
of fraud there were under such a regime^ where the 
transactions amounted sometimes to hundreds of rupees 

' This merchant's bills were presented weekly, 
endorsed by the superintendent, and paid at the 
taluk kachcheri, the only possible check on fraud 
being simply to see that the number of paupers 
" reported '^ justified the amount of supplies returned in 

' One item of these daily orders was a sum of ready 
cash, varying from ten to fifteen or more rupees for 
sundry expenses. The only trace made of the use of 
this money was found in the indefinite entries : — " Paid 
wood," *^ Paid vegetables," &c. 

* Food was not ready for distribution till nearly dark, 
and had to be issued by torch-light. As the force of 
cooks was not sufficient to permit the organisation of 
more than two distributing parties, work was necessarily 
continued tiU a late hour in order to properly feed all. 
I learned, indeed, that work was regularly thus pro- 
longed until eight or nine o'clock, and that the ex- 
haustion of the lamp oU, or any one of several occur- 
rences, was regarded sufficient cause for closing the 
camp, even though but a part of the people had been 

' The Sudras were fed first, then the Mussulmans, 
and afterwards the Pariahs, Chucklers, and Christians, 


and lastly the sick. It happened this evening — ^it was 
said to be a thing of frequent occurrence — that the 
supply of cooked food fell short, and the last-named 
class were dismissed with half-rations. Moreover, there 
is good reason to believe tliat at least part of the sick 
were not fed at all, and as many of them were quite 
helpless, they were without food or drink for thirty 
hours. As the above order was regularly followed, 
losses from whatever cause always fell on these most 
needy classes. 

'I noticed, too, that a rich curry prescribed by 
Government for special diet paupers, was issued to the 
Sudras, while the sick, for whom it was intended, 
received pepper water only on their food. 

' On assuming charge of the camp next day, as a 
beginning of better work, orders were given that no 
bill presented for payment at the kachcheri on account 
of the camp should be paid unless it bore my endorse- 
ment, and arrangements were entered into to supply 
the required fuel from certain stores of Government 
wood then offered for sale. With this arrangement 
ceased the daily order for ready cash, and with the 
cash ceased the supply of buttermilk with which the 
gumastah and visiting friends were wont to regale them- 
selves. Separate lists of the christians were made 
out, and orders issued that the sick should have warm 
conjee two or three times a day in addition to regular 
meals, and water to drink when desired. 

*0n going to the camp in the evening at the ap- 
pointed time it was found that food would not be ready 
till five o'clock, though strict orders had been given to 
have everything ready by three o'clock. It seemed as 
if the servants had an understanding among themselves 
that food should be distributed after dark. 

* Seeing that it would be quite impossible to feed the 


people within reasonable hours, I called up a party of 
mussulmans and another of christians, placed each 
under a brahmin gumastah, and prepared to distribute 
food by four parties instead of two as formerly. 

' To guaid against violation of caste rules, the sudra 
cooks were directed to bring out food from the kitchen 
and pour it into distributing vessels. The mussulmans 
were then sent to feed the mussulmans and christians. 
But some one whispered that the chucklers had touched 
the food; and though this all took place in presence of 
the camp, and was in perfect accordance with rules to 
which all classes were accustomed, yet the sudras and 
mussulmans rose in. a body and left the camp, refusing 
to take the food. Five minutes later the cooks bolted 
and confusion reigned. Rumours say the superinten- 
dent stationed men along the roads and warned all 
caste people of the outrage, thus spreading the reports. 
The village was soon in an uproar, which was not 
hushed till a late hour. 

' Thus ended the first day: bad for the caste people, 
but the rest had full rations for once ; the sick received 
their curry, and seemed well pleased with the change. 

' Next morning the discontented paupers were at the 
camp early, but were evidently hungiy and disposed to 
be quiet. Deeming the vessels defiled, the cooks refused 
to go to work. Orders were therefore given to clear 
out the kitchen, new vessels were bought, and a brah- 
min priest was allowed to purify the ground according 
to their own rites, whereupon the servants all resumed 

' The acting tahsildar was present, heard my state- 
ment of caste troubles just as here given, heard the 
above-mentioned orders issued, and saw work resumed. 
Yet knowing all this, he sat down an hour later and 
wrote to Government an account of the difficulties as 


he had heard them in the streets tlie night before, 
without a word of the facts, or so much as an intima- 
tion that the difficulty was at an end. 

* The same day the telegraph flashed the stoiy to 
Madras and brought a message from his Grace the 
Governor on the subject. But, unfortunately, before the 
despatch reached the camp the plans of the previous 
evening had again been acted upon, with the difference 
that hunger had brought people to their senses. All 
castes ate their food quietly, the sick were cared for, 
and the camp closed before dark. It may be added 
that this plan was not changed so long as it was 
necessary to use an increased force. 

* A little enquiry by competent authority resulted 
in the superintendent's sudden departure from the 
camp. The acting tahsUdar availed himself of a 
short sick-leave and visited friends in a neighbouring 

' Some of the special diet paupers were so helpless 
that it was necessary to lift them about, and even to 
put food into their mouth or allow them to die of 
hunger in the camp. As caste gumastahs would not 
do such work, an intelligent young christian man was 
appointed gumastah and assigned to this duty. Many 
persons of all castes owe their lives to this young man's 
kind and fiBiithful care. Yet the camp servants were so 
angry at his appointment that only after the summary 
dismissal of one or two of the most insolent could they 
be brought to treat him with respect. Even then he 
lived several months in constant fear that he would be 
drawn into some trap set for him and brought to 

* On the third day I determined to make a careful 
examination of the paupers to ascertain the cause of 
certain matters noted on my first visit. The better to 


do this the people were admitted to camp one caste at 
a time and inspected as they came. 

* The strong young women were there, indeed, with 
little children, and passed in regularly. But a half-hour 
later an inspection of the lines revealed the same state 
of affairs as at first and solved the mystery. The babies 
had been borrowed for the occasion and returned to 
their mothers as soon as the gates were safely passed. 
Emaciated mothers being admitted on their own 
merits, loaned their poor little babies to stranger women 
that they too might have an apparent excuse for resort- 
ing to the camp. A vigorous pull often straightened 
a crooked arm or hand ; a sudden pass with the hand 
proved many of the blind to be cheats. Many a swollen 
knee or ankle when stripped of its bandages of rags 
and leaves proved to be of normal size, and lame men 
became as antelopes when startled by sudden fear. In 
a word, it was quite evident that more than half of the 
people that were gratuitously fed were able to do a 
good day's labour. 

' Breaking up of certain relief works about this time 
sent many persons wandering around the country, and 
in a few days over three thousand were at the camp. 
With increased numbers came greater difficulties and 

* Lingering in the camp till dark one evening I dis- 
covered a sudden increase in the crowd outside. This 
was caused by the village ryots, coolies, and masons 
flocking in after their day's work was done. As many 
of them were personally known to me it is certain that 
this was the class of people referred to. I soon dis- 
covered that they were creeping through the fence in 
all directions. At my approach a dozen sprang from a 
single hiding place and ran away. 

^ Having gained access to the camps, they would sit 


down in the various lines. Some would crouch down 
and cover their heads with their cloths, others would 
half hide themselves behind other persons, and in this 
way they would wait their turns to receive food as the ser- 
vants passed along. Having succeeded, a quick move- 
ment into another line, or a sudden leap over a fence 
into the next caste, would enable them to secure a 
second allowance ; and so they went on. An active 
man could easily obtain several portions. One of the 
village officials was caught with a considerable quantity 
of food in his cloth. In justification of his conduct he 
asserted that he had only been drawing for his family, 
and presented seven tickets, all duly stamped, in proof 
of his statement. Three months in the Zillah gaol 
probably convinced him of the irregularity. I was 
troubled to account for the fact that no grain or cooked 
food was ever to be found in the morning, though there 
was a balance over on several occasions, and that new 
vessels had to be bought every day. Desiring to 
ascertain the cause, I one evening left the camp at an 
earlier hour than usual, but rode back again at about 
eight o'clock. Dismounting and walking quietly into the 
camp, I found a number of the cooks still at work, but 
the officers were gone. A crowd of at least one hun- 
dred men, mostly large strong ryots from the village, 
had gained access to the camp, and was gathered in the 
vicinity of the godown and kitchen. Among them 
were the fellows I noticed the first day acting as 
volunteer gate-keepers, &c. Presently two cooks, 
followed by a column of ryots, entered the camp, all 
carrying pots of water on their heads, and marched 
straight into the kitchen. The case was plain enough 
now. These fellows intended to enter the kitchen by 
this ruse^ when each would have set down his water 
pot, taken up a pot of food or curry, and pass off to his 


house. Others would have helped tliemselves to vessels, 
filled them with dry graiu, and gone away. But where 
were the two constables on duty at night ? In the 
farther corner of the camp, of course, carefully watching 
the stones piled up there when the camp was cleared, 
lest some one should steal them ! 

* This night's rounds firmly convinced me that it was 
a matter well understood between the cooks and ryots, 
and perhaps with full knowledge of some of the ofiicers, 
that work was to be continued till after dark, and that 
lamp-oil was purposely short every night, allowing 
darkness to cover the premeditated loot. 

* It thus became evident that nothing short of a com- 
plete revolution would reach the centre of the trouble. 
The distressed poor were starving in sight of plenty, 
while a demoralisation almost as much to be dreaded as 
famine was fast seizing the able-bodied of all castes. Even 
when sent off in companies under escort of constables, 
who were ordered to conduct them straight to relief 
works, they would not go. An hour later they would 
be wandering in the streets, and in the evening would 
be again crowding around the camp. 

' The full state of aflFairs being clearly brought before 
the proper officers, a complete reorganisation of the 
camp was decided upon, and was made under the super- 
vision of the authorities. It could hardly be otherwise 
than that some worthy of gratuitous relief should have 
been sent ofi^ with the crowds that were dismissed to 
work. But by this radical stroke the camp was put 
into a manageable condition, and those in charge bad 
the satisfaction of knowing that a very large proportion 
of the persons retained ultimately recovered strength 
and returned to their villages. 

' One more fact deserves mention, as it indicates that 
there is an important element which should enter into 


any correct solution of the problem of &mine expense 
and loss, but which is likely to be overlooked. I one 
day received a note from the acting tahsildar, asking 
what arrangements had been made for burial of dead 
bodies from the relief camp, and also stating that the 
mortality was rapidly on the increase, for he had the 
day before paid for burial of thirty corpses at half a 
rupee each. 

' This information was somewhat of a surprise to me, 
for on the day referred to I had been in the camp all 
day, and had seen every dead body found in or around 
the camp. The number was just seven^ nearly all 
deaths from cholera and small-pox. Moreover, these 
seven bodies had been buried by coolies under my direc- 
tion, and had been paid for by me, the total cost being 
one and a half rupees. The thirty reported were 
returned by village officials as deaths in the camp, 
when not one had been so buried. I cannot account 
for the strange report except in this way. When I 
assumed charge of the camp, village vetyans were 
engaged to bury the dead, but I noticed that they were 
rarely more than half an hour disposing of a body. As 
the ground was almost as hard as a stone, proper burial 
was, of course, out of the question at such a time. My 
belief is, that they simply threw the bodies into holes 
or ditches, or into the prickly pear, and reported them 
buried. Another part)' of village vetyans would happen 
to pass that way by previous arrangement, and take the 
corpses to the -village officials as those of persons dead 
by the wayside. The burial receipt being obtained, 
another ditch or bunch of prickly pear would serve as a 
place where a third party could find them, repeat the 
rites, and so on at will. But would not the trick be 
detected? No, not necessarily. The karnum would 
be debarred by his caste from a close inspection, and a 


handful of dust would effectually prevent recognition 
from a distance. Besides, two annas out of each burial 
fee would suffice to forestall any inspection. I do not 
say this plan was followed, but in what other possible 
way this number could be made out I do not see. One 
thing is certain, not a single burial took place from the 
camp that day, where thirty were reported and paid for, 
and it is exceedingly improbable that so many unknown 
and unclaimed bodies would ever be found in any day 
in a small town.' 

Perhaps it may be thought that this camp was 
exceptional in its condition. An illustration may be in 
point. A special famine relief officer in charge of a 
neighbouring taluk told the writer that the number 
reported in the camp where he was on duty was only 
about half as great on the day of his arrival as it had 
been the day before. On asking why this diiFerence 
existed, he was told by the officers that an inspection 
of the camp the previous day had resulted in half of the 
paupers being sent to their villages. The fact probably 
is, that Government had been paying the cost of feeding 
two hundred persons who were never in the camp. 

The source of all this trouble appeared to be in the 
want of Iionest efficient supervision. The few Euro- 
pean officers in each district could not personally visit 
the camp except for a day or two at a time, and at long 
intervals. A European officer at the head of each taluk 
would have saved untold sums to the Government, 
An honest intelligent corporal would probably make 
sad work of handling a well-drilled battalion. What 
would be expected if an ignorant, inexperienced, and 
probably dishonest recruit were placed in command of 
two thousand raw militiamen as ignorant and dishonest 
as he? 


The question of the quantity of food to be given in 
the camps was the subject of much discussion. Re- 
garding the Monegar Choultry camp near Madras — 
probably the best managed camp in the Presidency — 
Dr. Cornish on April 9 said, * I have just completed an 
inspection of the Monegar camp, and I regret to state 
that I do not find the condition of the people to be at 
all satisfactory. While a great many of the inmates 
have put on flesh of some sort, they appear to me to 
be, as a rule, in a very poor condition of health. Their 
muscles are soft and flabby, and they are decidedly 
anasmic. I fear there are very few of those who have 
been fed some months really fit to do a day's work. 
But the most marked feature in the people of this camp 
is a peculiar condition of the tongue. In many cases 
the tongue is quite denuded of its usual coating, and is 
pretematurally clean, while the lining membrane of the 
mouth is unusually red and tender. In others there is 
a redness of the tongue at the edges, and cracks and 
fissures on the fur on it, denoting an irritable condition 
of the mucous membrane throughout the intestinal 
tract. I observe, too, that a considerable number in 
the camp have spongj'^ and discoloured gums, indicative 
of approaching scurvy, and of some deficiency in the 
diet. The young children in the nursery are nearly all 
dropsical, and most of the old people are in the same 
state. The mortality amongst these is still very high, 
and likely to continue high, so far as I can see. If an 
epidemic of cholera broke out in the camp just now, 
I believe the mortality would be very serious indeed.' 
The Sanitary Commissioner suggested that the opinions 
of independent medical oflBcers should be obtained, and 
the Government appointed the surgeons-general of the 
British and Indian medical services — Dr. George Smith, 
and Dr. C. A. Gordon, C.B. — to insj)ect the paupers at 


the Monegar Choultry and Red Hill camps, and to 
report, with as little delay as possible, their opinion of 
their condition and whether the diet they were then 
receiving was sufficient to keep them in health. 

A most valuable and interesting report was prepared 
by Drs. Gordon and Smith, of which more cannot be 
given here than the conclusions arrived at as to whether 
the diet the paupers were then receiving was sufficient 
to maintain them in health. The inspectors said : — 

(a) We consider that with respect to paupers admitted into the 
relief camp during the early part of the existing famine the particular 
ration of food sanctioned has so far enabled a number of them to hold 
their own. Even with this class, however, we doubt whether the 
state of health in which they now are is likely to continue much 
longer under existing conditions of diet, &c. 

(b) In the cases of persons presenting the deranged state of the 
tongue, gums, and general health already detailed, we consider the 
present scale of diet altogether insufficient j this insufficiency in our 
opinion being partly in its quantity and partly in the nature of its 

(c) With regard to paupers more recently admitted, and who have 
been for a considerable time previous exposed to the severity of the 
famine, we consider the pi-esent ration to be insufficient to maintain 
health. In the cases of such persons the natural reserve of power 
possessed in greater or less degree by all men had been diminished to 
an extent varying with the severity with which the scarcity or want 
had afiected them; a considerable number of them have become 
affected with the chai*acteristic derangement of the digestive organs 
indicated by the signs already noted, and the functions of digestion 
and assimilation in them are proportionally impaired. 

(d) For the women who are now nursing infante at the breast, 
the present scale of diet is insufficient to maintain them in health. 
In their particular case it is insufficient even to a greater degree than 
in that of men ; with the former not only does it become necessary to 
support the physical powers of the individual as with the latter, but 
over and above this, material has to be supplied for transformation 
into food on which growth and health on the part of the nursling in- 
fant are dependent. 

It is an important question in laying down a diet scale what are 
the purposes to be filled by it in respect to the person partaking of it, 



thftt ifl, whether he shall be maintained only at a point of mere 
eziBtenoe without a reserve of tissue and power to enable him when 
the time comes to undertake ordinary labour, or whether he shall be 
preserved in a condition sufficient to maintain this reserve and 
physique to resume hereafter his ordinary occupations. 

For the first-mentioned purpose the scale now in use seems to be 
sufficient in respect to those who have only suffered from the efiects 
of ordinary poverty or scarcity.* For such, however, as have been 
lowered by the pressure of want and famine, it is deemed to be al- 
together insufficient. Our opinion is that, in order to maintain the 
health of all according to the standard we have indicated, a rate of 
diet considerably above the present is necessary.^ 

In respect to all classes now in camp, we consider the scale laid 
down for ordinary non-labouring prisoners to be the most suitable, 
with a few trivial modifications »s noted below, viz. : — 

lbs. oz. drs. 

Rice 180 

Vegetables 4 

DhoU 020 

Mutton^ excluding bone, or equivalent in fish (three 

times per week) 3 

Salt 10 

Tamarind 8 

Ghee (clarified butter) or oil 8 

Ourry powder 7 

Onions 008 

Qarlic 004 

Surgeon-General Smith recommends on non-meat days six ounces of 

The Madras Government, when these papers were 
laid before them, directed that the scale of diet recom- 
mended by Surgeons-General Gordon and Smith in their 
report on the Monegar Choultry camp ' be adopted at 
all relief camps, and that the apparent result of the 
alteration now ordered be reported every fortnight.' 

In March Sir Richard Temple thought it necessary 

^ Note hy Surgeaiv-Oeneral Smith. — Add, although the dietary is defec- 
tive as regaxds certain necessary elementa of food. 

' Note hy SurgeonrGenered Smith. — We deem it also necessary that 
the dietary indicated shaU avoid sameness, and be constructed so that exist- 
ing pathological tendencies in the pauper population of the camp be, if 
possible, checked. 


for officers in charge of relief camps to make their camps 
* somewhat more popular than they are now.' * After 
consulting various native gentlemen of experience ' he 
says, ^ I think that some concession might be made in 
relief camps to the caste feelings of the people. For 
very poor classes, who in this Presidency are often said 
to belong to no caste, the present system of public cooks 
in the camps might suffice. But for those who have 
grown up with caste feeling some relaxation of the 
present arrangements might be permitted. Inmates 
might be allowed to cook their own food, either for 
themselves or for self-arranged gangs, and they might 
be allowed to eat their meals apart and free from 
observation. In most of the camps there would be 
ample space for the enjoyment of such concessions. 
Then again, the sheds might be set apart for the prin- 
cipal castes ; the casteless or very low caste people 
would in such cases have sufficient shed accommodation 
for themselves. In most cases it would be possible to 
make these not very great (but still to natives ac- 
ceptable) concessions without any considerable increase 
of expenditure. If such concessions could be given, 
the relief camps would certainly become more efficient 
as safeguards against dangerous distress.' 

There is no wonder that the camps were regarded 
with suspicion by the people. The death-rate in them 
was appalling. As this very high death-rate was one of 
the features of the famine — a fact that attracted very 
great attention in England, and has been the subject of 
questions asked in the House of Commons — ^it may be 
desirable to quote fully a report upon the camps in 
several districts, and likewise to give a few tables 
showing the terrible nature of the mortality. Writing 
on June 11, 1877, Dr. Cornish said: — 

The mortality oocurring in the famine relief camps of this 



Freddency is one of the subjects that have been engaging my attention 
for some time past, and I have now the honour to submit, for the 
information of his Grace in CouncU, the results of my enquiries up 
to the end of May. 

As it did not seem at all clear to me that the deaths occurring in 
newly-established camps would be registered by the village officials, I 
addressed collectors of districts on the subject, and requested that a 
weekly return of strength and mortality, according to a form circu- 
lated, might be sent to my office. This request has been very 
generally responded to, and for the month of May the information 
has been received in a tolerably complete form. The figures for the 
period previous to April 28 .are not so complete, but will serve 
to indicate, in some degree, the rate of mortality in the camps for 
the periods they were severally in working. There are, I imagine, 
many small rehef-houses in the several districts which do not furnish 
any returns to me, but which are noticed in the returns of the Board 
of Revenue. 

I propose to show the mortality in relief camps for irregular 
periods prior to April 28, and distinctly for the month of 
May. As the camps had been in operation for various periods of 
time, the annual ratio of deaths to average strength has been 
calculated on the number of weeks each camp was in existence. 

Madras Camps. — The relief camps under the administration of 
the commissioner of police only are included in the return. For the 
period of fourteen weeks up to April 28 the average strength was 
11,815 and the total deaths 2,511, the annual death ratio being 
787*6 per mille. For the four weeks ending May 26 the strength was 
16,970 and the deaths 615, or in the ratio of 471*1 per milla 

This shows an apparent improvement in the death-rate of the 
Madras camps in May, but in my opinion it is attributable mainly 
to the reception and accumulation in these camps of able-bodied 
persons who were taken in because they were emigrants, and not 
because they were in that state of physical destitution which required 
immediate relief. Great efforts have recently been made to reduce 
the numbers of those who are in a condition to work, and I hope by 
sending them back to their villages and districts, or to working 
gangs, it will be possible to find room for the numerous starving 
people firom the provinces who are now either on out-door relief, or 
picking up a precarious living by begging in the streets. I am quite 
certain that the town of Madras has never been fuller of really 
destitute wanderers than it is at this moment. 

Salem Distriet. — X have received returns from eleven camps in 
Salem district. These on the average had been eleven weeks in 


exifitenoe on April 28, and in that time the strength of the inmates 
averaged 5,393, and the actual deaths were 1,075, giving an annual 
ratio of 935*3 per nulle. In the month of May the average strength 
of the camp population was 7,000, and the total deaths in the four 
weeks was 746, or in the annual ratio of 1,388 per miUe. The 
heaviest mortality of all has occurred in the Dharampury camp, 
where, since January 2 to May 26, 646 deaths occurred out of a 
weekly strength of about 1,120. Some deaths from cholera occurred 
in this camp, but the great bulk of the casualties here and elsewhere 
in the district were due to famine diseases. It is worthy of notice 
that the ratio of mortality to strength in the camps of the Salem 
district was higher in May than in the previous period, proving, I 
think, the severity of the famine and the extreme destitution of those 
who are now coming into the camps for relief. 

North Arcot — From the North Arcot district I have received 
returns only from five camps. There is a relief camp at Chittoor 
which, I believe, has lately been opened, but no returns have been 
furnished. Up to April 28 the average strength of the destitute in 
camps for an average period of eight weeks was 1,870, and 340 deaths 
were recorded, giving an annual ratio of 1167*9 deaths to 1,000 
living. For the month of May I observed that the average number 
under camp relief was 4,202, and the total deaths 471, or in the 
proportion of 1,457 per mille of the strength. The mortality has 
been very high in the Yellore camp, and also in Punganoor and 
Palmanair, though in the latter camp the numbers were but few. In 
Pungauoor the great mortality of the camp inmates shows how much 
destitution there has been in that zemindari. It must be borne in 
mind also, with regard to the North Arcot district, that many thou- 
sands of destitute and starved people have wandered away to Madras 
and other districts. Whether the centres of camp relief in this 
district are sufficiently numerous may, I think, be considered doubt- 

Cvddapah, — The returns for this district show some of the 
mortality in April up to certain weeks in May included in May, and 
are otherwise not as accurate as I should wish. Up to April 28 there 
are returns only for two camps, Yoilpaud and Peelair, in the Yoilpaud 
taluk. These show a weekly strength of 681 for five weeks, and 224 
deaths. The May return, which for Cuddapah, Royachoti, and 
Madanapalli includes deaths occurring in March and April, shows an 
average strength of 6,465 and 925 deaths in fourteen campa Adding 
the 224 deaths in Yoilpaud taluk in April, the Cuddapah camps have 
bad altogether 1,149 deaths since they were formed. And in regard 
to Boyachoti, Madanapalli, ^., many deaths occurred while the 


people were being fed, and before the regular camps for their reception 
were ready. Of these deaths no special record was kept. Owing to 
the way in which the information has been given, it is not possible to 
detennine the ratio of mortality to strength for the month of May, 
but I am afraid it has been so heavy as to indicate very severe pres- 
sure and distress amongst the destitute classes in Cuddapah. 

BeUary, — ^Betmms have been received only from nine relief camps 
in the BeUary district, and these in some cases do not show the 
dates on which the camps were established. Up to the end of April 
there appear to have been five camps, with an average strength of 
4,926, and 248 deaths. In May nine camps return a strength of 
6,419, with 585 deaths, but the returns for the Madakasira camp for 
April are brought into the May account, and thus add to the actual 
mortality of the month. The deaths in the Bellary camp (147) in- 
dicate in May a very high ratio of mortality. 

NeUUyrt, — The number of camps of which I have received returns 
is eight, and these only for the month of May. Of a strength of 
3,801, there are returned 337 deaths, but some of these deaths appear 
to have occurred in April in Sooloorpett camp. 

ChingUpui, — There have been only four relief camps instituted 
in this district; of these, two, one at Palaveram and another at 
Poonamallee, have been in work ever since the beginning of the year, 
while the camps at the Cortelliar and Ghingleput are of recent origin. 
The strength of the Palaveram camp, I believe, includes the relief 
workers as well as the destitute. All that is necessaiy to record of 
these camps at present is that they show 331 deaths up to May 26, 
and that the weekly strength furnishing this mortality remains to be 
adjusted when corrected returns are received. 

Kumocl, — The system pursued in the Kumool district has been 
mainly one of village relief, but a camp was established at Khader- 
bagh on April 11, since which time, out of an average weekly 
strength of 835, there have been 205 deaths. This indicates a very 
high rate of mortality, and probably of advanced destitution in the 

Betums have been received of relief camps in Madura, Tinnevelly, 
and South Aroot, but the comparatively low ratio of mortality in the 
camp inmates would appear to show that the privation and distress in 
these districts have been nothing out of the ordinary way. No returns 
of relief camps have been received from the Coimbatore district. 

To sum up the results as regards the eight fiajnine districts : the 
returns prior to April 28 show an average strength of 26,980 re- 
ceiving relief in camps, and 4,576 deaths, while the returns for May 
how 50,284 on relief, and 4,037 deaths. 


In the weekly reports sent to me the causes of death are 
generally given. In two or three camps there have been a few deaths 
put down to cholera or small-pox, but more than nine-tenths of the 
whole are specified as fftmine diseases — dysentery, dropsy, diarrhoea, 
and debility. 

The accompanying abstract return will show the registered 
mortality of each camp. I trust to be able to have more complete 
figures on this subject for the following months. 

From my own observation of relief-scamps in Bellary, Guddapah, 
Ghingleput, and Madras, I do not think that the assembly of the 
people in the centres of relief has had any bad effect on their health. 
Our camps have on the whole been very free of epidemics, notwith- 
standing the general prevalence of small-pox and cholera in the dis- 
tricts. In these camps the poor have had shelter, food, and generally 
medical supervision, aU of which might have failed to reach 
them under a system of village reUef away from direct observation of 
the district officials. The great mortality I attribute to the hopeless- 
ness of the cases from the time they came under relief, and not to 
causes connected with the aggregation of sick and feeble, or insanitary 
conditions arising therefrom. 

The only peculiar feature of the mortality in relief camps is the 
frequency of diseased conditions of the bowels. In slow starvation, 
from which the great minority of the people have suffered before they 
seek relief, there is a diseased condition of the organs (lacteals) by 
means of which the nutriment of certain kinds of food is conveyed 
into the blood, and where this diseased condition exists to any great 
extent there is very little prospect of recovery. The use of nutritious 
food fails to restore such persons because the organs which as- 
similate nutriment have lost their functions. But besides this 
special condition of the organs of assimilation, it frequently hap- 
pens that life is cut short in the famine-stricken by dysentery, 
or diarrhoea, or secondary inflammation of the lungs. Infants at the 
breast and young children up to the seventh year and old people 
appear to succumb in the greatest numbers to the famine. Cholera 
and small-pox especially find their victims ready at hand in those who 
have been impoverished by bad food. 

It is worthy of note that not in one single instance has there 
been any reason to suspect that the victims of famine have died of 
what is called ' relapsing * or * famine * fever in Europe. This disease, 
which is a variety of typhus fever, was recently supposed to have 
made its appearance in Bombay, but I believe that further enquiry 
has elicited the fact that the supposed relapsing fever was nothing 
more than the ordinary malarious fever always present in Bombay. 


Our famine people in Madras have not shown symptoms of fever of 
any kind. Their temperature, in fact, in the simple wasting of 
famine, is always lower than normal. In looking back for historical 
evidence of the diseases accompcmying famine, I find that in Guzerat, 
in 1812, there was a very virulent epidemic of small-pox prevailing 
with fJEimine, just as we have now in this Presidency. It is curious 
to note that while a variety of typhus is the usual accompanying 
disease of famine in Europe, here in India smaU-pox, another 
contagious malady, should take the place of relapsing fever. 

Sufficient has been stated to show that chronic starvation (by 
which term I mean irregular and inadequate supplies of daily food 
continued for weeks or months) is a very deadly disease. So deadly 
is it, in fact, that when degenerative changes of the assimilative 
oi^gans have set in, recovery is almost hopeless. In acute starvation, 
such as in the instance of men immured in a coal-pit for five or six 
days without food, there is not time for the destructive changes to 
occur in the bowel, and food judiciously administered will restore such 
persons to health. This is not the case in regard to persons who by 
fk long course of privation have been forced to seek the shelter of 
relief camps, and wherever these people may be, in camps or in their 
own villages, the deaths must be appallingly high. In camps we 
can take cognizeuioe of the mortality, but the village registration 
will, I fear, show it but imperfectly. 

Terrible as was the general experience of camps, 
ludicrous incidents occurred now and again, one of 
which may be given. 

The superintendent of the famine relief camp at 
Yerrakancherry reported to Colonel Drever, the com- 
missioner of police, the following incident. On January 
19 a man named Vencatagadoo, aged about 55 years, 
by caste a Yeanadi, of Chittor taluk, was admitted 
into the hospital suffering from diarrhoea, and after a 
few hours he was to all appearance dead. His body 
was ordered by the medical subordinate to be carried 
away and put into the dead-house. The vettyan, or 
grave-digger, belonging to the camp was sent for and 
directed to remove the body of the supposed dead man. 
Whilst the body was being wrapped in a date mat, the 
man arose and wanted to know what they were doing 


with him. The grave-digger and his assistant ran 

away from the dead-house in great terror and repaired 

to the quarters of the medical subordinate, and reported 

that the man whom he had a few minutes ago removed 

from hospital as a corpse had come to life. Vencatagadoo 

was then removed to the hospital, where, on arrival, he 

said he felt hungry and wanted something to eat. Some 

rice and mutton broth were then given to him, but 

he refused to eat the food unless a glass of liquor was 

supplied. Humouring the patient's whim some liquor 

was obtained. He then ate a hearty meal and began 

singing songs. He appeared very pleasant and went 

through a number of antics, dancing in an erect position 

for some time. He then sat down and moved his hands 

and legs in diflferent positions, keeping time to the 

songs he continued to sing. This merriment continued 

for a couple of hours, and towards evening he again 

wanted something to eat and drink. His wants were 

supplied and he slept soundly that night, and awoke 

apparently in perfect health. But about 9 a.m. the 

following day he was really dead and was removed to 

the dead-house, where he was wrapped up in a date 

mat for the second time and subsequently taken away 

to the graveyard and buried. The body was watched 

closely for several hours after the ' second death ' by 

the medical officer, who was quite satisfied the man was 

really dead this time. 

Similar cases to the one above reported have been 
heard of by medical men after a patient has been 
suffering from cholera ; it is simply a bright flicker for 
a few hours before the light of life goes out finally. 






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Unfortunately, one of the greatest difSculties we have to contend 
with in the present emergency is the wily scheming of the 
village authorities, who, it is feared, in many instances are 
taking advantage of the prevailing distress, and of the 
inadequate supervision as yet supplied, to feather their nests 
at the expense alike of Crovemment and of their fellow- 
countrymen in distress.' — ^R. Davidson, Collector ofKumool, 

One of the chief features in the policy being carried out 
in Madras when Lord Lytton arrived there at the end 
of August 1877, was the system of village relief, 
whereby, according to the official returns, more than 
one million persons were being supported gratuitously, 
a proportion receiving a money dole at their own homes. 
The distributors of this relief were village officials, 
whose position and influence have been described in 
earlier pages of this work. It is putting the matter 
mildly to say that Indian village officials are not above 
suspicion, and, in cases where money is to be distri- 
buted, only to be trusted where there is close scrutiny 
and efficient European control. This control was not 
possible over the vast area of the Madras Presidency ; 
European officers were too few, and great abuses were 
the consequence. Hindus themselves do not hesitate 
to say that their countrymen made vast sums of money 
in an illegal way, whilst the testimony of special relief 


officers, and the experience of others who endeavoured 
to prosecute, and, in some cases succeeded in prose- 
cuting such criminals, was unanimous in describing 
defalcations as very numerous, but at the same time as 
exceedingly hard to prove.^ 

^ A correspondent of the Indian Daily News^ a special relief officer 
engaged in Madras, describes the frauds as follows : — ' The yaiiety and the 
intricacy of the means employed to defraud the Government have been 
granted. Both the givers and the receivers of the charity have been duped. 
But it must be said that those for whom relief was intended have given 
proofs of the most criminal duplicity. 

' Suicide by violent means, when the cause of it is despair, excited no 
astonishment. But what can we think of those persons who have tamely 
submitted to a slow process of starvation, through fear of annoyance here- 
after at the hands of the munsif, should they expose his misdeeds and his 
cruelty towards them. This has actually been the case. When persons, who 
were being starved because the munsif chose to misappropriate the funds 
entrusted to him were questioned, they told the most deliberate lies to 
exonerate their unscrupulous headman. Those who received nothing, or 
perhaps a handful of gredn twice or three times a week, positively asserted 
that they received relief regularly, and the full amount — a miserable lie — 
to which, among other evidences, their broken-down condition gave the 
most emphatic denial. 

' Abject creatures have been paraded before European officers. They 
have been bribed, threatened, cowed into saying that all was right, and they 
have said what they were bid. They have deceived those who came to 
relieve their sufferings, and when any of them had the courage to speak out 
before the '^ special relief officer ,'' it availed them nothpg, for that officer 
was as harmless as a lamb. He would, however, report I Imagine reporting 
that a number of people are on the point of death, and that, as you are 
powerless to remove the oppressor, even for an hour, or to check his powers 
of mischief, you expect early orders, that is early famine orders. The worst 
of it is that prosecutions will not stand in these fraud cases. On one side 
would be a few wretched creatures, whose very destitution and misery 
would be their safeguard against persecution hereafter at the hands of a 
vindictive village magistrate, and who would not fear to face even that dreaded 
official, and accuse him of malpractices, and perhaps of crime. On the other 
hand, there would be a host of timid and demoralised persons, whom trifling 
bribes or lengthy threats would induce to give evidence exonerating their 
tyrants, and this evidence would be backed up by the statements of respect- 
able inhabitants, who perhaps had during a long period received their share 
of the plunder. This sometimes represents a considerable simi. Wealthy 
villagers have often obtained the munsifs connivance and sanction to their 
drawing from six to ten rations daily. Taking six as the more common 
number, and valuing each ration or dole at one anna, the amount would be 
in six months something over sixty -seven rupees. Chily the more respectable 
inhabitants coidd command sufficient interest to secure a large number of 

'abuse' of village rbliep. 321 

In their first order on the subject, issued on 
February 1, 1877, the Madras Government feared 
that ' abuse ' would follow a system of village relief 
owing to the paucity of inspectors. When the in- 
evitable consequences of the practice were pointed out 
the authorities admitted that the system was open to the 
objections stated, * but the village relief is a necessary 
complement to the camp relief. The orders of Grovern- 
ment must be carried out in their entirety, the officers 
of Government exercising the closest supervision pos- 
sible.* Sir Richard Temple also strongly insisted upon 
and urged house-to-house inspection in villages, so that 
those physically incapacitated should not be altogether 

A great many reports were sent to Government, 
indicating fraud and the impossibility of checking it. 
One or two may be given. Mr. Davidson, collector of 
Kmnool, wrote : — 

In paragraphs 5, 6, and 7 of my letter to the Board, dated Feb- 
ruary 17, 1877, No. 4, Extra, I had the honour to point out the 
difficulties we should probably have to contend with in introducing the 
village relief system owing, among other things, to the wily schem- 
ing of the village headmen. 

2. Knowing the class of men I had to deal with, I thought I 
had adopted every precaution to give full effect to the orders of Go- 
vernment, and at the same time minimise the chances of peculation 
and abuse, by circulating printed instructions to all heads of villages 
and devising a system of checks. 

3. I enclose copies of the marginally-noted papers,* and I shall 

Bhares. It would take a vast amount of labour to find out where the evil 
began and where it ended. Moral conviction baaed on proofs acceptable 
to conunon sense as conclusive, are not evidence in a legal sense.' 

» (1) Copy of this Office Circular, No. 8, of 1877. (2) Copy of this 
Office Circular, No. 0, of 1877. (3) Printed Takeeds to Reddies. (4) 
Revenue Inspector's Diary. (6) Reddies* Application for Funds. (0) 
Return of Persons fed in each week. (7) Translation of Cumbiim Tahsildar's 
Report. (8) Nominal Roll. (0) Copy of this Office Circular, No. 17, of 
1877. (10) Copy of Takeed to Tahsildars. 



feel greatly obliged if the Board will do me the kindness to suggest 
improvements or modifications in them, as I find that they have been 
inoperative to prevent what would seem to be an unnecessarily lavish 
expenditure of State funds. 

4. It would appear from the relief-returns for the week ending 
April 14, that in 407 out of the 787 villages in the district relief was 
afforded by the headmen, and that 13,794 persons were being fed 
daily at an aggregate cost of 7,141 rs. per week. The weekly average 
cost in each village was thus over 17 rs. 8 as. 

The Board of Revenue, on receiving the above, stated 
that they had anticipated that considerable frauds would 
result from the village relief system, and ' the abuses 
which appear to have prevailed in Kurnool are so great 
that nothing short of the stoppage of the relief and the 
substitution of more numerous and well-managed camps 
on the system the trial of which was authorised in 
G. 0. dated April 21, 1877, will, in the Board's 
opinion, suffice. The village relief should, if continued, 
be confined to providing temporary rehef for persons 
who are to be sent to the camps, or are willing to go 
there, or who are in immediate danger of starvation. 
The collector might try the system of village relief 
in force in Salem, viz., granting permanent tickets, 
entitling the holder to receive a daily subsistence 
allowance, to such persons as by reason of caste, age, 
or infirmity cannot be put into relief-camps. Gr. O. 
March 26, 1877, will be communicated to the collec- 
tor. One anna a day would probably be sufficient to 
allow for adults.' The Government simply ordered the 
collector's letter and the Board's remarks to be * re- 
corded,' which is equivalent to shunting a subject into a 
siding, whence it may never be removed. 

Another case is given by Mr. Ross, acting head 
assistant to the collector of Bellary, who, morally 
certain of the guilt of the parties, could not obtain 
proofs sufficient for conviction in a court of justice. 
Writing to the collector on the case, he says : — 


The recipients who at first infoHned me that they usually got only half 
rations (the village officers appropriating the other half of the grain 
accounted for), almost immediately retracted their statements, and I 
could get nothing out of persons whose only chance of getting any 
food at all would have been lost if they had ' peached ' either on this 
point or on the curious fact that himdreds did not appear for relief 
just on the day of my inspection. As, however, the names and de- 
scriptions of the recipients were not written down (this practice 
having been quietly dropped after a short time), I could get no proof 
positive of fictitious entries, and there was >then left only the evidence 
obtained by a check of the accounts which showed daily so many seers 
for so many persons fed. Here I found, from variations in the number 
of seers used on difierent days for the same number of persons, that 
there had been evidently cooking of the accounts and no attempt at 
counting or recording the real numbers of those fed. I judged, how- 
ever, that it would be useless to put the village officers on their trial 
on the evidence I was able to obtain, which was clearly insufficient 
for conviction in a court of law. I therefore punished them depart- 

The acting collector of South Arcot (Mr. F. R. H. 
Sharp) asked for instructions on certain points in one 
of the Government Orders relating to the subject, ancj 
remarked : — 

With reference to clause C, I take the liberty of asking sanction 
for continuing the system of village relief in the form of distribution 
of cooked food rather than ready money, for the following reasons : — 
Where difficulty of supply of grain arises, it is far more likely that the 
poor will suffer from this difficulty in making their trifling retail 
purchases than the munsif who has to buy comparatively large 
quantities, and has the prestige of his position, and of the fact that he 
is buying for charitable distribution on a large scale to help him. The 
having to wait some time for the food and to eat it in the appointed 
place (where this salutary provision is enforced) has a good effect in 
deterring those not I'eally in want or who can get a day's work from 
applying. If a money dole is given, all the well-to-do laboui'ers of 
the place, including servants of ryots, all professional beggars, and 
others of this class, will doubtless besiege the munsif for money, and 
even amongst families requiring relief there is no guarantee that 
the money received will not be spent in * liquor ' or * betel ' for the 
adults, instead of on food for the children. Even maternal instincts 
cannot be trusted in this matter ; from personal observations I have 

T 2 


reason to believe that mothers recognise in a half -starved in&nt a potent 
pass for relief, and are glad to have their babies' skeletons to secure 
their own interests. The munsif is much more Ukely to cheat in 
the matter of distribution of money than in that of food ; and, if 
called on. to account for the extreme emaciation, or perhaps death bj 
starvation, of any of the people (especiallj the very young or very 
old) of his village, he can easily reply — * What can I do, Sir ) I have 
given the Little (deceased) girl's father or the blind old (deceased) 
man's son the prescribed money-payment for the past three weeks, 
but I could not compel the father (or son) to spend the money pro- 
perly.' Belief by means of distribution of cooked food must be a 
longer process, and there is a far better opportunity for inspecting 
officers suddenly visiting a village to inspect this process, than that of 
giving the money-dole. Of course the system of money dole would 
be stUl reserved for gosha females and other exceptional classes. 

The reply to this was : * Government do not 
recognise the force of the collector's objections to the 
money dole- With careful scrutiny of the village 
registers by the relief inspectors and weeding of 
persons who should not be on them, there should not be 
much room for fraud by village heads.' To the opinion 
in fisivour of money doles the Madras Government 
tenaciously adhered. Towards the end of August, 
when H. E. the* Viceroy was on his way to Madras 
from Simla, it was stated: — 'This (Madras) Govern- 
ment decided on the adoption of the " money dole " 
system for the relief of necessitous residents in vil- 
lages as being on the whole less open to abuse, more 
advantageous to recipients than relief in the form of 
cooked food, and not more costly to the State. It was 
adopted after long and careful consideration of the 
results of other systems, and as likely, by enabling the 
poor to remain in their villages, to have a material 
effect in checking that tendency to wandering which 
has been, and is, one of the causes chiefly conducing to 
the great mortality which is prevalent, and which it is 
most important but very difficult to arrest. Nor is the 
advantage arising from the circulation of money which 


results from the system to be overlooked ; for in the 
several villages that circulation will act as a stimulus 
to trade which is much needed, and which, indeed, it 
is necessary to keep alive.' After further explanations 
the letter concluded as follows : — * On reconsideration 
of the question, his Grace in Council sees no reason to 
modify his views as to the advisability of maintaining 
the money dole system/ 

This letter reached the Viceroy whilst his Excel- 
lency was at Poona, and the consequence was close 
examination of the subject with a view to its discussion 
at Madras in conference with the local authorities* It 
was found that the first mention of this form of village 
relief was in the ' Proceedings' of the Madras Government, 
No. 1830, of May 28, 1877. It was therein laid down 
that, inasmuch as people dislike removal to relief camps, 
and inasmuch as the unsatisfactory organisation of relief 
camps induces wandering and unhomely habits among 
the people, and inasmuch as his Grace was not prepared 
to concentrate people on large public works, the col- 
lectors were authorised to relieve in their respective 
villages any distressed persons who might be fit objects 
for transmission to relief camps, but who were reluctant 
to leave their homes. The relief was to be given in the 
shape of a daily dole of money, to be fixed in the first 
instance at 1 anna 2 pies for each adult and 6 pies or 
^ anna for each cHild. The amount was to be paid 
daUy by the village headman on the authority of a certi- 
ficate given by the village inspector, who was to examine 
the register and check abuses. The village inspector, if 
the circumstances of Bellary may be taken as a general 
guide, was an oificer paid about 20 rs. a month, and he 
was subordinate first to the famine inspector and then 
to the tahsildar, or taluk officer ; his jurisdiction was 
something like twenty villages on an average. 


The returns issued in July showed that in each 
village in which such relief was given, the average 
number of recipients was only twenty-four persons ; but 
doubtless, as the system was then in its infancy, and 
had not been fully developed by drafting to village 
relief the surplus numbers from relief camps and 
kitchens, the numbers greatly increased. 

The numbers receiving the money dole in the 
villages were not more than the village inspector, if 
honest and kept under due control, could properly 
supervise ; but it may be observed that in the same 
despatch which gives the average number relieved in 
each village to which the system had then extended as 
only twenty-four, the Madras Government once more 
throw doubts on the honesty of these men. They say 
the mortality of people receiving village relief was un- 
doubtedly understated, because it was the direct interest 
of the village headmen not to report deaths among 
those on whose account rations could be drawn,^ and in 

^ The correspondent of the Indian Daily NevoHf who has been already 
quoted in this chapter, says : — The following is a list of some of the means 
employed by dishonest Tillage magistrates to defraud the Government and 
to better their friends* and relatives* condition, as well as their own : — 

1. The names of the friends and relatives of the munsif and other 
influential residents were entered as paupers. 

2. Distinct from the above was the reckless distribution of money to 
well-to-do brahmins. 

8. Names of deceased persons were entered in the books ; and 
4. When people died, their names were not struck off. 
6. Deserters' names were also entered. 

6. People residing in other villagea ; and 

7. Fictitious persons were shown as receiving relief. 

8. Several sets of accounts were kept, and a false account was shown to 
the inspecting officer, in which the numbers given were smaU as compared 
with the accounts submitted at treasuries. 

9. The fragmentary state of accounts \ and sometimes 

10. Their total absence, proved the most thorough and complete check, 
where village magistrates had sufficient resolution to adopt this method of 
open and defiant opposition. 

11. The same persons' names were entered several times. 

12. When grain was given instead of money, the people were of course 
easily defrauded j and when money was given, 


fact, unless human nature in Madras was very different 
from what it was elsewhere, it was obvious that the 
class of men from whom village inspectors are drawn 
would find it to their interest to support the headmen 
in swindling the Government and in keeping up 
fictitious registers, rather than in reducing the numbers 
on the register, and th^ amount of money dole, down 
to the lowest possible figure. Nor could such men be 
expected to realise the necessity for drafting from 
village relief on to public works all those who might 
be fit to give to Government, in the shape of work, 
some return for their subsistence. It is clear that in 
such an organisation local and personal prejudices 
would come into play, and it will be gathered from the 
instances already cited that the superior officers were, 
as a rule, not sufficiently numerous fully to control 
and check their subordinates. The direction in which 
the Viceroy looked for a remedy was in strengthening 
the supervising agency from outside. In the Bengal 
famine, where at first the authorities had precisely the 
same difficulty to cope with (though, owing to the 
absence of any indigenous village agency, it took in 
Bengal an exaggerated form), the remedy applied was 
the introduction of outsiders as circle officers. These 

13. A heavy percentage was deducted. Any opposition or vemonstrance 
was met occasionally with the complete stoppage of relief, and the sum 
payable to the offender was drawn by the munsif, who of course^ 

14. Bid not remove the name from the list 

15. Payments were made from four times to once a week, but this kind 
of brutality was not extensively practised — ^the usual thing being to retain 
one day*s ration in the week. 

16. Occasionally a lump sum, say a rupee, was given to a pauper with 
instructions to give no trouble, and not to come agahi for assistance. The 
name, however, being kept on the list for months, the rupee thus invested 
^ave handsome returns. The misappropriation of money is in itself bad 
enough when carried out by trusted and responsible servants of Gk)vemment; 
but when it is necessary to starve human beings to accomplish an iniquitous 
object, the crime becomes serious beyond words. Yet this has been done. 


were to some extent Europeans, but the supply was 
mainly sought for among the tahsildars and sub- 
tahsildars of the North- West Provinces. There was 
some friction in introducing them. The Bengal officers 
prophesied that, from their ignorance of the language 
and the revenue system, and from their contempt for 
Bengalis generally, they would prove a failure ; but the 
result, it is said, was very different. They worked 
admirably for Government ; the absence of local sym- 
pathies prevented their hiding or conniving at malver- 
sation, and, on the other hand, the people had no 
hesitation in complaining against them. 

In regard to the money dole system itself, there 
was no objection to it, provided (1) that it were 
rigorously confined to the aged, infirm, and people who 
could not do any work, and who would otherwise in- 
evitably perish ; and (2) that there was a sufficiently 
brisk private trade to keep the villages in which it was 
in force well supplied with grain. The first c<mdition 
is based on the obvious consideration which stands good 
for all famine crises, viz., that Government is bound not 
to spend more money than is absolutely necessary to 
keep people alive ; but as long as there is Government 
money available, the distribution of which is left to 
village officers, it will be almost impossible strictly to 
enforce this condition, and people who might support 
themselves, or be supported by their relations, will 
infallibly, from caste and local iieelings, be allowed im- 
properly to draw the Government dole, involving not 
only an unnecessary burthen on taxpayers generally, 
but also a real and wide-spread demoralisation from 
which it will take much time and labour to recover the 
people themselves. 

The second condition is one which was put forward 
at the time, but which scarcely needs explanation. It was 


argued that if Government has to bring grain to the 
villages and store it there, because private trade has 
ceased to do so, it is manifestly foolish to give people 
money with the right hand, in order that the same 
person may give grain in exchange for it with the left. 
If village doles are to be given at all, experienced 
administrators would prefer to have them given in 
grain and not in cash ; but obviously a money dole 
is incompatible with the local storing and distribution 
of grain by Government officers, and the two systems 
should not go on side by side. 

Under the system inaugurated by the order of 
September 24 the money-dole was modified and strictly 
confined to the bedridden and the helpless, and a more 
rigorous carrying out of the relegation to works was 
adopted. Meanwhile great mischief had been done, 
and not a little demoralisation caused, by the money 
dole system in villages. 



(1) Emigration. 

When the distress in Madras had fully manifested 
itself in 1877, one of the first thoughts which pre- 
sented itself to interested onlookers in Great Britain and 
in India was that something akin to blood-letting in 
plethoric patients might be done to give ease to the 
country. * Cannot you cause your surplus population 
to emigrate to neighbouring lands or to parts of 
India where famine is not present ? ' This question was 
asked many times and was answered according to the 
ideas or idiosyncrasies of the person addressed — by no 
means according to special knowledge. Among other 
suggestions made in England was one by Sir Julius 
Vogel,K.C.M.G., who, in a letter to the Times ^ pointed 
out the field which existed for tropical labour on public 
works in Northern Australia. The Marquis of Salisbury, 
then Secretary of State for India, speaking at Bradford 
in the autumn of 1877, seemed to think Indian emi^ra- 
tion was a famine panacea, but wisely refrained fi:om 
giving reasons for his opinions. In India itself much 
faith was not put in emigration. The immobility of 
the people, the vast numbers affected,^ the absolutely 

* The Pioneer f writiiigr in A^pril, 1878, said : — ' The recent diacuasion 
between the Secretary of State and the Government of India about the en- 
couragement of emigration from India to the British colonies, has shown the 
unimportance of the question as regards the general well-being of India. The 
colonies at the most do not need more than 20,000 emigrants annually, and 
this would have absolutely no effect on the increase of a population of 200 
millions, adding to itself Between two and three millions a year.' 


ineffectual relief such a movement would afford, all 
conspired to prevent attention needed for remedial 
measures on the spot being turned to what after all 
was but speculative and Utopian. Not that the sub- 
ject altogether escaped the attention of the Madras 
authorities. Moreover, as population in India repre- 
sents revenue, and proof of the land being over- 
crowded not being forthcoming, Indian governments 
were not over-anxious to lose their people. 

British Burma is a land not unsuited to the 
Madras agriculturist, and thitherwards the eyes of 
some administrators were turned early in 1877. 
On March 3, Mr. Rivers Thompson, chief commissioner 
of British Burma, addressed the Revenue Secretary of 
the Government of India upon the subject, and on the 
21st of the same month received a reply. In con- 
sequence of that he telegraphed, on April 3, to 
the Chief Secretary to the Madras Government aa 
follows : — * Please say whether you are in a position to 
promote emigration from the famine-stricken districts 
of your Presidency to Rangoon; if so, how many emi- 
grants can you send, and when would the emigration 
commence ? It would be desirable to send healthy men 
with their families, and as early as possible. Detailed 
particulars will be sent by letter, but information is 
required generally on these points by telegraph, to en- 
able this Administration to decide upon the necessary 
preliminary arrangements to be made here.' To this 
the Government of Madras replied that they were 
ready to promote emigration by giving every publicity 
through distressed districts to Mr. Rivers Thompson's 
proposals. At the same time they said they were not 
aware of any number of emigrants being available 
at present. The telegrams were communicated to the 
Collectors of Bellary, Kurnool, Cuddapah, Nellore, 


North Arcot, Salem, and Chingleput, who were in- 
structed to report how far, in their opinion, the 
measures contemplated by the chief commissioner of 
British Burma were likely to produce any effect. 

The telegram from Rangoon was followed by a letter 
from Major W. C. Street, secretary to the chief com- 
missioner, to the Madras Government, dated April 7, 
in which the advantages of emigration were set forth 
in detail. It was as follows:— 

I am directed by the chief commissioner to invite the attention 
of his Grace in Council to the proposals submitted by this administra- 
tion for the encouragement of emigration from the fistmine districts of 
the Madras Presidency to British Burma. These proposals have met 
with the approval of the Government of India, and sanction has been 
given for a liberal expenditure for carrying them into effect. It is 
understood that a copy of the correspondence on the subject has 
already been forwarded to the Government of Madras, but, for ready 
reference, a second copy is enclosed. It remains to consider the neces- 
sary arrangements for commencing the emigration as soon as possible, 
and, with this view, the chief commissioner has been authorised to 
communicate directly with the Government of Madras. 

The great need of population in Burma, and the facilities which 
exist for settling immigrants, with their families, throughout this 
pi*ovince, lead the chief commissioner to hope that, in the present 
severe pressure in Madras, large bodies of the labouring classes from 
the famine districts may, with very little inducement, avail themselves 
of the opportunities which now offer ; and he trusts to the good offices 
of the Madras Government for the promotion of the measure. 

As regards the arrangements for the reception of emigrants on 
arrival here, I am to observe that there is a depdt in Bangoon capable 
of holding 1,000 persons, and available for immediate occupation. It 
is under the charge of the superintendent of immigration, assisted by 
an efficient establishment, already accustomed to deal with emigrants. 
Further arrangements are under consideration for providing shelter, 
at places to be selected, piincipally alorg the line of railway from 
Bangoon to Prome, where opportunities of employment at good wages 
will be afforded, and where waste land is available, near the line, for 
those wishing to cultivate. 

It will be seen, then, that as far as this administration is con- 
cerned everything is either ready or in course of prepai-ation for the 


reception of intending immigrants ; but it will be necessary to decide 
at once on the rules under which the details of the scheme are to be 
carried out. The law which at present regulates the transportation of 
native labourers to British Burma, and their employment therein, is 
contained in the Enactment No. III. of 1876. It provides for the 
establishment of dep6t8 at ports of embarkation, the appointment of 
agents and medical inspectors, and the method under which recruiting 
shall be licensed and carried on. It permits, further, the engagement 
by written contracts for service in British Burma, with specific 
obligations as regards work and wages. It seems to the chief com- 
missioner that, while in the present pressure the strict enforcement of 
all these details will involve very undesirable delay, the necessity for 
their enforcement is to a great extent obviated by the emergency 
which has given rise to the proposals under consideration, and by the 
nature of these proposals themselves. The measure is undertaken for 
the relief of those suffering from fenune, and also with the object of 
inducing persons to settle in British Burma. Under it advances will 
be made to all emigrants, to be repaid by small instalments ; grants 
of land, for purpose of lice or garden cultivation, will be given to those 
desiring them, and which will be exempted from payment of revenue for 
periods varying from one to twelve years ; whilst labour on public works 
at high itLtes of wages will be available for those who do not wish to 
dear and cultivate land. None of these matters are provided for in 
the Act, and, under the circumstances, the chief commissioner would 
venture to suggest that the provisions of the Act might, in a measure, 
be dispensed with, and that with a few simple rules for the guidance 
of medical officers, dep6t agents, and district officers, all that is neces- 
sary in the matter of forwarding intending emigrants to the ports of 
embarkation, and of despatching them to Burma, might be secured. 
In this view the intermediate agency of recruiters could be abandoned, 
and the negotiation of contracts (which is entirely permissive) avoided ; 
while district officers might be placed in direct communication .with 
the agents appointed at such dep6tB on the coasts (in addition to 
Cocanada, already established) as his Grace the Governor in Council 
might consider favourably situated for the promotion of emigration. 

I am to point out the urgent necessity of a careful medical exami- 
nation of all those wishing to avail themselves of this scheme. The 
season at which they would arrive, the commencement of the rains, is 
not always a healthy one, whilst the voyage, the change of climate 
and of mode of living, will be trying to all who are not in a 
thoroughly healthy condition. Any great mortality would seriously 
affect the success not only of the present arrangements, but of any 
emigration from the Madras side for the future. The chief commis- 
sioner would also ask that every endeavour may be made to induce as 


m&ny married men as possible to emigrate, acoompaoied by their 
fieimilies. Single men would probably return to their villages after 
making a little money, as experience shows to be the practice with 
the great majority of labourers who come over yearly from the 
Madras coast, and the main object aimed at in the present under- 
taking is the permanent settlement of extensive tracts of fertile 
country, where population is much needed. 

In conclusion, I am to ask that when matters have so far pro- 
gressed that some idea can be formed of the number and class of 
persons likely to arail themselves of the terms offered, early informa- 
tion may be given, so as to enable this administration to complete the 
arrangements which are now in progress. 

Enclosure No, 1. 

From Major C. W. Street, M.S.C, Secretary to the Chief Commis- 
sioner of British Burma (Immigration), to the Secretary to the 
Government of India, Department of Kevenue, Agriculture, and 
Commerce, dated Eangoon, March 3, 1877. 

I am directed by the chief commissioner to submit, for the con- 
sideration of the Government of India, whether, in view of the 
prevalence of very widespread famine in the Presidency of Madras, 
an impulse could not be given, by special arrangements, for a more 
extended emigration of labourers from the distressed tracts to British 
Burma, pai*tly as a measure of relief from the famine, and partly in 
promotion of the settlement of population in this province. 

The British Burma Labour Law, for r^ulating the transport of 
native labourers to this country^ was passed in 1876, and came into 
force in January of that year. Many preliminaries, however, had to 
be arranged before the law could come into operation; and the 
following details have now been settled. The chief commissioner, 
after reference to the Local Government (Madras), and the Government 
of India, has, under section 4, appointed an emigration agent at the 
Fort of Cocanada, the most favourable, under ordinary circumstances, 
as a port of embarkation. Similarly, a medical inspector of emigrants 
has been appointed at the same place ; and the detailed rules required 
to be prepared by the chief commissioner, under section 87 of the Act, 
for the general security, protection, and well-being of immigrants after 
their arrival in this province, have been published. It is necessary to 
await the action of the Madras Government, as regards the prepara- 
tion of the rules required by section 86 ; and the attention of his 
Grace in Council has been called to the urgency of the matter. As 



Boon as these roles are notified, the measures necessary to give effect 
to the law will be completed. 

It is impossible to say, beforehand, to what extent the Act will 
succeed in promotiag emigration to Burma. Possibly, the special 
condition of the Madras Presidency may, of itself, stimulate emigra- 
tion from the distressed districts during this year ; but ordinarily it 
may be noticed, there is a large number of labourers who come over 
from Madras to British Burma during the busy season of the rice 
operations; and lately, eveiy vessel which has arrived from the 
Madras ports has brought from 600 to 900 Madras coolies, eager to 
obtain employment in the mills. This is without any intervention of 
Act III. of 1876. The emigrants are volunteers who make their 
own arrangements with contractors for the labour market here ; and 
experience shows that the great mass of such labourers who annually 
visit Burma return to their homes enriched with the gains of high 
labour rates prevalent in Rangoon, as soon as the season in which the 
mills are at work is passed* The object of legislation on the subject 
was, primarily, to regulate this system of emigration. In the hands 
of the contractors, it was thought to be open to many abuses, and the 
coolies, probably, in all cases did not come by their full rights. It 
was also, perhaps, anticipated that under formal contracts and a well- 
organised system for r^;ular employment at high wages, the people 
would be induced to settle in the oountiy, and, by taking up lands, 
promote the cultivation of wastes, and thus benefit the province. 
The result of this has yet to be seen. As long as there is no legal 
prohibition against the contractor S}rstem, it will not cease to compete 
with the Government arrangements under the Act of 1876; and, as 
hitherto there have been large employers of labour in Burma, beyond 
those who need workmen for the limited season of the rice operations, 
the chief commissioner has doubts whether much will be gained by 
the Act as regards the settlement of emigrants in this province, in 
the absence of special measures to promote that object. The coolies 
from Madras will still come for the high wages which they receive as 
null hands; but they will probably return to Madras when that work 

It seems to the chief commissioner that the present opportunity 
is a £Etvourable one for considering the practicability of giving a more 
permanent character to the emigration which the Act gives us the 
power of carrying out in detail. We need population here in every 
district for agricultural purposes, and in every branch of the Public 
Works Department. If the large railway works are to be continued, 
either by tiie extension of the Prome line to the frontier (for which 
application has been sent in), or for the construction of the new line 


to Toungoo (for which the estimates will shortly be submitted), a 
large number of labourers might be engaged at once, under contract 
for the full period of the three years which the law allows. Similar 
dispositions would be of advantage for the completion of the embank* 
ments which are still in progress, while, for people wishing to settle 
as agriculturists, lands are widely available behind the embankments 
in the Henzada, Bassein, and Thonkwa Districts, and culturable 
wastes ready to be occupied and cleared in most districts of the pro- 
vince under liberal rules of five years' exemption fix)m payment of 
any rent. 

It would appear from the papers that there are now a million of 
people suffering from the £unine, receiving relief at the Grovemment 
expense in the Madras Presidency. It is estimated that the relief 
measures in Madras and Bombay will involve an outlay of six and 
a-half millions sterling. It can be in a very small way at best that 
British Burma can help to alleviate distress of such wide proportions 
by offering work and lands in this province ; and even the measure of 
its aid in these respects would depend upon the extent to which the 
Government of India would favour the scheme, and promote it by a 
special allotment for the purpose. Assuming, however, that in their 
present calamity the Madras labouring population would show a 
greater willingness to emigrate, and that the €k)vermnent of India 
would divert a portion of the large unavoidable expenditure imposed 
on it by the famine in furtherance cf this project, the chief commis- 
sioner would be prepared to receive 20,000 persons within the next 
three months, and find them occupation, or lands upon which they 
could settle. If either of the large railway works before referred to 
receive early sanction, it would feudlitate the immediate employment 
of the emigrants and reduce the expenditure which wovdd be necessary 
to maintain them on their first arrival. 

Mr. Kivers Thompson is aware that, in the famine in Bengal in 
1874, a scheme of a similar nature was approved and carried out 
with only partial success, under a system of State emigration. He is 
of opinion, however, that in £ace of special difficulties and drawbacks, 
the general outcome of those arrangements was of benefit to British 
Burma, with a corresponding relief, probably, to the famin&«tricken 
districts from which the emigrants came ; and that, if any similar 
scheme was favourably entertained now, we should commence opera- 
tions under better securities for success. In the first place, the Ben- 
galee has never amalgamated with the people here in the same way as 
the Madrassee. The latter is always in much greater demand as a 
labourer, and the people from Madras in this province are already so 
numerous as to impart to every new comer a stronger home feeling, 

z 2 


end a greater readiness to remain than the Bengalee emigrant ever 
experienced, coming among a people alien in habits, language, and 
religion. Again, in giving effect to the measure of 1874, the chief 
commissioner had not the aid of a law to regulate emigration from the 
continent of India. The provisions in this respect are now ready at 
hand, and can be put in operation at any port in the Madras Presi- 
dency, from which labourers could be most easily embarked. So, on 
debarkation, the dep6t arrangements in Bangoon are complete and 
ready for immediate use, while the opening of the railway to Prome 
will fietcilitate most advantageously the transport of immigrant3 with 
their families to many districts in the interior. 

It will be, of course, in the cost of carrying out the project that 
the greatest difficulties will present themselves. The emigrants, 
coming from a part of the country in which severe famine prevails, 
to establish homes in a new country, will not be in a position to settle 
or maintrfiin themselves for one year at least after their arrival : and 
some system of advances would have to be devised and sanctioned 
before the measure could be attempted. In the inquiries upon this 
subject which were made in 1874, it was ascertained and generally 
accepted that an advance of 150 rs. would be required for each family 
— man, wife, and say, two young children — to start them in this 
province. The calculation was made out as follows : — 


The construction of a house 20 

One pair of bullocks 80 

Thirty baskets of paddy for consumption and seed . . 30 

Salt and condiments 6 

Ploughs and other agricultural implements . . .15 

Total 150 

The cost of rice would be cheaper now than then, and in some 
other details a reduction might be feasible ; but, probably, it would 
involve an outlay of not less than 140 rs. for each family, as above 
constituted, to give effect to the measure. It would be of immense 
advantage^ aa tending directly to the permanency of settlement, if the 
men could be sent over with their families ; but, perhaps, taking the 
figure of 20,000 as the total number who would be induced to emi- 
grate, not more than one-fourth of these would be accompanied by 
their families, and ia the case of single men the preliminary expenses 
would be considerably less, perhaps not exceeding 80 rs. per head. 
Upon these calculations, the expenses to be incurred in the way of 
advances would amount to a sum of nineteen lakhs of rupees, viz,, 
5,000 X 140 = 7,00,000, and 15,000 x 80 = 1,200,000 rs. 

As on the previous occasion, an emigration account would have 


to be established, supervised by the officer in charge of the depart- 
ment at the head-quarters dep6t, in which a separate entry would be 
kept of each family or individual emigrant received in the province. 
As these get settled in different districts, the deputy commissioner of 
each district would maintain a corresponding register of the settlers 
in his district, the lands assigned to them, the moneys advanced to 
them, and the re-payments on account of such advances as gradually 
adjusted. The rate of re-payment, which could not be enforced till 
the end of the first year, would be fixed at 3 rs. per month in liquida- 
tion of the debt to Government. 

The almost daily representations which are made to the chief 
commissioner on the difficulties which embarrass every branch of 
industry in this province from the want of labour, and the pressure 
from similar causes felt in departments of the public service, must be 
his excuse for bringing the subject thus prominently to the notice of 
his Excellency in Counci], and expressing a hope of its favourable 
reception. An investment, if so it may be termed, of nineteen lakhs 
of rupees in an undertaking of the nature proposed, would not, in the 
chief commissioner's opinion, end in failure, even financially ; and if 
the Imperial Government is involved in an expenditure which is 
counted by millions for the alleviation of famine, the assignment of 
190,000/. as a relief measure to Madras, when it woidd benefit 
Burma so incalculably at the same time, does not seem extravagant. 
Already, with the prospect of the opening of the railway, an impulse 
has been given to arrangements, for some time in contemplation, for 
working earth-oil mines, establishing sugar I'efineries, and extending 
the cultivation of jute and tea in various parts of the Pegu Division ; 
and any project for the importation of labour into the country would 
be hailed by the gentlemen who would introduce these industries 
with great satisfaction. The scarcity of population is practically the 
one want which has hindered hitherto the application of capital to all 
enterprises of this nature, and if it can be overcome in any measure, 
even the large initiative outlay which the proposal under considera^ 
tion involves would be soon repaid by the rapid development of the 
resources, and, through them, of the revenues of British Burma. 

JEndosure N'o, 2. 

From the Officiating Secretary to the Government of India, Depart- 
ment of Kevenue, Agriculture, and Commerce, to the Chief 
Commissioner of British Burma, dated March 21, 1877. 

I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your secretary's letter, 
No. 368-1, dated the 3rd instant, in which it is proposed that in view 


to benefiting Britisb Burma, and at the same time affording reUef to 
the famine-stricken districts of the Madras Presidency, immediate 
encouragement should be given to the emigration of labourers from 
those districts to British Burma, by introducing a system of advances. 

In reply I am to say that the Governor-General in Council 
approves of the proposal, and, subject to the condition that the emi- 
grants are to be exclusively selected from the fEunine-stricken di&- 
tricts, has sanctioned the allotment of nineteen lakhs of rupees to 
meet the expenses to be incurred in making advances to the emigrants 
in question. 

A copy of this correspondence has been forwarded to the Govern- 
ment of Madras, with whom you are authorised to enter into direct 
communication with a view to arrangements being made for com- 
mencing the emigration without delay. 

From the foregoing correspondence the project 
seemed a most hopeful and tempting scheme. On one 
shore of the Bay of Bengal great enterprises were 
languishing for want of labourers; on the other millions 
of people were being supported gratuitously and em- 
ployed on public works, many of the works being 
merely put in hand to find occupation for the distressed. 
Closer examination of the subject, however, revealed 
difficulties which proved insuperable. The Madras 
Government, from the first, feared this would be the 
case. On May 9, Major Street was informed that his 
Grace the Governor in Council had considered the chief 
commissioner's proposals, and had referred them to the 
collectors of the famine districts for an expression of 
their opinions as to the probability of their having any 
efffect in inducing persons to emigrate to British Burma. 
The replies of all had not been received, but the collectors 
of two of the most distressed districts gave very decided 
opinions that the scheme as propounded would have no 
effect. His Grace in Council desired, however, to do 
all that lay in his power to make the chief commissioner's 
proposals fully known, but thought it essential that they 
be set forth more definitely. 


The points on which further information was re- 
quired were: — 

1. Will any advance be made to the emigrants before they 

2. What extent of land is to constitute a grant ) 

3. What are the conditions of the land grant ) 

4. What assessment will the lands bear which are to be exempted 
from land-tax for periods varying from one to twelve years^ when 
they are assessed ? 

5. How are the expenses of recmitingy examining by medical 
officers, feeding, transporting to dep6ts, &c., to be met ? 

6. What are the rates of labour and prices of food-grain in 
British Burma ? 

7. What public works are in progress of such a permanent 
character as to induce a man to go with his family to Burma to live 
by the wages he could earn. 

His Grace in Council further observed that, while 
the chief commissioner laid some stress on the emigra- 
tion being undertaken for the relief of those suffering 
from famine, he was evidently anxious that none but 
thoroughly healthy and able-bodied emigrants should 
be sent to him — a class of people not likely to be found 
among famine-relief labourers in any numbers. They 
would consequently require to be recruited, and to that 
end recruiters would be necessary, as it was out of the 
question that the district officers, who were overburdened 
with work, could find time either to look for emigrants 
or to act as emigration agents in their respective 
districts, and pass on such as might offer to emigrate. 

Meanwhile the following telegram had been sent 
to Rangoon : — * Of what size are the grants of land 
to be given to intending emigrants?' The reply was: — 
* Ordinary grants vary fi-om five to twenty acres. No 
particular limit to area of grants. Depends chiefly on 
amount of land available and means of applicant to 
reclaim land.' 


The seven questions asked in the letter from the 
Government of Madras were replied to on June 14. 
It was said : — 

1. Necessity of making advances to emigrants before embarking 
was not contemplated in the scheme submitted to the Government of 
India, but I am to observe that if such advances are absolutely ne- 
cessary the cost can be met from the allotment sanctioned by the 
Government of India for that purpose. 

2. There is no special limit to the extent of land which consti- 
tutes a grant. Under the rules in force a deputy commissioner of a 
district has power to make grants of land for the purposes of cultiva- 
tion to an extent not exceeding 100 acres. The larger number of 
grants, however, are made by Thoogyees or heads of circles, and do 
not exceed five acres for rice cultivation ; in the case of garden land 
they are, as a rule, somewhat smaller, varying from one to three acres. 
The sizes of grants vary very much according to the kind of jungle 
to be cleared, and the means of the applicant to bring it into cultiva- 
tion. The case of immigrant settlers would be favourably considered. 

3. There are no special conditions attached to grants further than 
those under which exemption from payment of revenue for a term of 
years is permitted. All immigrants are exempted from the capitation 
tax for five years. I am to forward, however, a copy of the revenue 
rules at present in force in the province, and of those formed under 
the Burpia Land and Kevenue Act of 1876. These have not yet 
received the sanction of the Government of India. They contain all 
the information that you may require in regard to the terms on which 
land is held in this province. 

4. The assessment varies according to the fertility of the soil, 
the situation of the land, and fleudlity for intercourse with markets. 
On rice lands the rate varies from 8 annas to 2-8 rs. per acre, and in 
the case of garden land from 1 r. to 3 rs. per acre. 

5. The necessary expenses for the objects referred to in your fifth 
question can be met either from the allotment specially sanctioned by 
the Government of India or from the provision made for the expenses 
likely to be incurred on account of general emigration under the 
JBurma Labour Law. 

6. The rates of labour and prices of food-grains will be found in 
the list attached. The price of rice will gradually rise during the 
rainy season, and fall again when the new crops commence to come in 
about the close of December. 

7. The more important public works in progress in British 


Burma are the Frome Eailway, which, though open for traffic, still 
provides for employment to a large number of labourers. The pros- 
pect of an early sanction to an extension of this line to the frontier, 
a distance of 40 miles, will give I'egular employment to immigrants 
settled along the line for at least two years. The construction of a 
large canal connecting the Pegu and Sittang rivers requires a constant 
supply of labour, and in this direction there are wide areas capable of 
cultivation, and in need of population. In addition to these there are 
works of various kinds being carried on in nearly eveiy district in 
the province, such as roads, bunds, tanks, kc,, for which labour is 
much required. The improvement, too, of the larger towns under 
municipalities will give ample employment to a large number of 
labourers. During the harvest season in every district extraneous 
aid has to be sought to reap the crops. 

This communication reached Government at an 
impropitious time. The south-west monsoon was seen 
to have failed, and all energies were turned to meet 
the new and aggravated crisis. Nevertheless, the chief 
commissioner's letter, together with the list of prices 
current of food-grains in Burma which accompanied 
it, was communicated to the collectors of the Bellary, 
Kumool, Cuddapah, Nellore, North Arcot, Salem, and 
Chingleput districts, and as soon as the draft rules 
under the Burma Land and Revenue Act of 1876 
had been approved by the Governor-General in Council, 
they were to be communicated to the collectors above 
named, in view to their being translated into the ver- 
naculars of their respective districts and widely promul- 
gated throughout them. 

With this intimation ends the episode of emigration 
to British Burma. 

As will have been noticed in the narrative of the 
Madras famine, emigration in one direction had served 
to greatly lessen the distress. Sir Richard Temple 
observed again and again that emigration to Ceylon 


had been no small boon to the Madura and contiguous 
districts. Ceylon is to the labourer of certain districts 
in Southern India what England during harvest-time 
in pre-reaping machine days used to be to Irish 
labourers — and more. The coffee plantations on the 
hills in the interior of Ceylon depend entirely on im- 
ported labour, and about 300,000 persons are regularly 
employed upon them. A perfectly free system of emi- 
gration, fostered by the Government in the provision 
of hospitals, &c., en route^ is in existence, and suffices 
for all needs. It has never failed the planters when 
left to itself, but has occasionally hampered them when 
the island Government has injudiciously interfered to 
* protect ' it. A bad season in Southern India means a 
plethora of labour for Ceylon, and when, towards the 
end of 1876, the harvest had proved a failure, immense 
numbers of people flocked to the narrow straits between 
peninsula and island, over which they were conveyed 
in vessels maintained by the Ceylon Government. It 
is reported that the number of persons who left for 
Ceylon at Paumben between November 1 and 23, 1876, 
alone was nearly 10,000, or four times the usual number, 
and it is known that large numbers had gone to Tuti- 
corin and there embarked. The emigrants were the 
able-bodied; and their weakly ones, both young and 
old, were as a rule left behind them. Those who found 
work sent money-order remittances to the connections 
they had left behind them, but where that was not 
the case the relief camp was the only resource for 
those who stayed at home. In March 1877, 1,101 
villages, with an approximate population of 150,000, 
were inspected by the collector of Madura. From these 
villages about 23,600, or 17 per cent., had emigrated 
to Ceylon. The stream of emigration continued in 
force for many months, and the feeble and sickly 


followed the example of the robust. Cholera broke 
out among them, and many died long before they could 
reach the plantations. In Ceylon the planters, mindful 
of their great dependence upon the Tamil people for 
labour, did their utmost to support the people who came 
to them, and in the town of Kandy a relief house was 
opened to supply those who could not find work with 
food. The Ceylon Government also provided public 
works for employment, but would not take up railway 
earth-works, which they were urgently requested to do. 
Mr. J. Lee- Warner, special assistant-collector, llam- 
nad, writing in August 1877, on the subject of coolies 
proceeding to Ceylon, said : — 

I inspected a large number of coolies waiting for passage to Cey- 
lon, and I am sorry to have to report that the average physique of 
these persons was far below what I have noticed on the two previous 
occasions that I have visited this port. I observed among the crowd 
several young men and women whose personal appeaiunce would have 
justified their admission into any relief camp were they willing to 
apply. Altogether there were about 4,000 persons then waiting for 
their passage, and I am informed that several hundreds more may be 
expected to arrive each day. From the registers I saw that they 
came mainly from Pulni, Dindigul, Tiroopoovanam, Puduoottah, the 
northern taluks of Eamnad, and a certain number from Trichinopoly. 
The arrivals from Salem are diminishing ; whether they embark from 
other parts or that emigration thence is satisfied, Mr. Beidy is very 
anxious about the fette of these poor peopla From his knowledge of 
the island he has satisfied himself that he hafi already imported at 
least 40,000 more than are needed or than the planters can find em- 
ployment for. It is no use telling the people this, as the Kanganies 
are interested in getting them across. Once there, they have little 
care what becomes of them, as they have pocketed their commission 
and can prepare to return for another batch. It seems from some 
correspondence that I have seen in the Ceylon papers, as well as other 
information received, that the planters have determined to dispute 
the right of their Government to limit or check the influx of coolies. 
The Government on the other hand h perfectly aware that the stock 
of grain in Ceylon is desperately low, and that the planters, in their 
anxiety to cheapen the labour market, are threatening to swamp the 


island with paupers, the burden of whose support will eventually fall 
upon the Government, who shun having any conflict with the planters. 
It is difficult on this account to predict what will be done. At pre- 
sent the only orders given to the superintendent of immigration at 
Devipatam has been to do all he can to get the Madras officials to 
stop coolies engaging themselves to Kanganies. This agrees with 
Mr. Elliott's recent and very abortive mission, and makes me think 
that the Cfovemment of Ceylon is afraid of the planters, and would 
prefer that any action involving a direct check upon the present ex- 
cessive immigration should originate with this Government or their 
own superintendent, Mr. Eeidy, whose conduct the planters are now 
attacking, as it seems to me, most unfieiirly. I have always supposed 
that Mr. Beidy knows what he is talking about when he insists that 
the continued supply of coolies exceeds the demand, and his anxiety 
in the matter is directed distinctly by humane motives. A crisis is 
evidently at hand when the Ceylon Government must declare its 
intentions, and two of the ferry-boats seriously want repair, which 
will diminish their carrying power by one-half. In these circumstances 
I request early information how to act in case of the Ceylon Govern- 
ment telegraphing to Mr. Keidy to stop further immigration by his 
ships. There will be from three to six thousand persons suddenly 
told that they must return to their villages. Many of them are 
entirely destitute ; nearly all have to travel a long distance to their 
homes. I propose that I should be allowed to pick out the poor and 
half-starved and put into their hands a small advance of grain or 
money on the condition of their starting the same evening to return 
to their villages, and not waiting about Devipatam, which is already 
a seed-bed of cholera. I need hardly add that I will do all in my 
power to distinguish the right cases for this assistance ; but, if immi- 
gration is going to be stopped, help should be given in all parts of the 
district by public notification what the intentions of the Ceylon 
Government really are, and this information can only be obtained 
from the fountain-head. Mr. Beidy writes that he may require large 
assistance by the 18th, and there is not much time to be lost. 

The Ceylon Government subsequently made formal 
application for emigration to be stopped. They said it 
was of great importance that some check should, if 
possible, be given by the Madras Government to the 
enormous influx of famine -stricken coolies vid Devipa- 
tam. If the emigration was allowed to continue at the 





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rate then noted, there was great danger of the supply of 
water along the roads falling short, which, in addition to 
the destitution prevalent amongst the immigrants, would 
lead to much suffering and hardship. Certain corres- 
pondence, relative to .assertions that people had died of 
starvation, was also enclosed. The Madras Govern- 
ment, in reply, said they were taking all the measures 
in their power to relieve those in need in their several 
districts, but had no legal authority to prohibit emigra- 
tion to Ceylon, the management of which was princi- 
pally under the control of the Ceylon Government and 
influenced by the action of recruiters sent by planters 
in the island to the mainland. It is a good thing for 
the labour supply of the island that the injudicious 
suggestion of the Ceylon Government was not heeded 
by the Presidency authorities. With this the corre- 
spondence ceased. (See table p. 349.) 

No other proposals for emigration were laid before 
the Madras Government, and, save that the regular 
recruiting for Mauritius and Natal was brisker than 
usual, the distressed districts received no other allevia- 
tion by this so-called panacea for famine. 

(2) Weavers. 

A famine in India means total ruin to ryots, who 
depend upon agriculture for their means of existence ; 
but these are not the only classes who suffer by the 
calamity. All who are in petty trade and depend upon 
agriculturists for employment, feel the visitation even 
more severely than the ryots. Such workmen as 
weavers and chucklers (shoemakers, &c.) are the first 
to suffer and the last to recover. In the Madras Presi- 


dency, according to the last cepsus, there were nearly 
600,000 weavers exclusive of families. Their condition 
speedily became very bad ; all custom was gone and 
there were literally no means before them of obtaining 
a livelihood. In December, 1876, the matter was 
brought before the Madras Government, but no decisive 
action was taken. In March 1877, his Grace the 
Governor in Council again had the condition of weavers 
in distressed districts under his consideration, and, being 
satisfied that their case was different from that of other 
handicraftsmen, resolved to authorise the collectors of 
all distressed districts to make advances of materials to 
them for the prosecution of their trade, paying them 
in addition, in the first instance, a sufficient allowance 
to maintain their families until the materials advanced 
were worked up, when the manufactured articles were 
to be bought at their usual market price, on account 
of Government, and their value adjusted against the 
advances made. The balance in favour of the weavers 
it was thought would then probably enable them to 
keep their looms at work so long as they were sure of 
the Government purchasing their manufactures. At 
Adoni, where weavers are numerous, the task of 
starting the system was entrusted to an experienced 

Under this order the following advances were made 
from time to time : — 

NeUore U^Q3 

Gaddapah 40,038 

Bellary 2,01,406 

Chingleput 8,908 

North Arcot 4,660 

South Arcot 8,681 

Madura 48,649 

Ooimhatore 94,744 

Salem 6,96,969 

Total . . . . Rs, 11,32,208 


The relief of weavers was, from time to time, 
pressed on the attention of the Executive Committee, 
Famine Relief Fund ; but several circumstances com- 
bined to render the task an undesirable one to under- 
take with the contributions of the charitable people of 
Great and Greater Britain. The most complete scheme 
laid before the committee was one by Mr. Seshiah Sastri, 
C.S.I., which was in the following terms: — 

Trichinopolj : December 20» 1877. 

I have the honour to inform you that at a special meeting held 
yesterday it was resolyed unanimously to address the Executive 
Committee, Madras, for an allotment to our Committee of a lakh of 
rupees for the special relief of distressed weavers in this district. 

Observing from the published proceedings of the Executive Com- 
mittee, Madras, that advances out of the relief fund for setting up 
wea/versin their trade were generally discountenanced, probably for the 
reasons (1) that it would interfere with the natural course of industry, 
(2) and that the object in view was itself subordinate to the primary 
one for which the fund was intended, viz., the support of life, we had 
made it our rule to appropriate no portion of the money entrusted to 
us for such a purpose as yet. Of course the distressed weavers re- 
ceived, and continue to receive, relief like distressed people of any other 

But the distress among them is of a kind and character that 
threatens to be of longer duration and of greater severity than may 
be experienced by other classes of the population. 

The information which we gathered at our yesterday's meeting — 
information furnished by members (some of them Tahsildars) who are 
engaged in the distribution of relief as the Committee's agents — went 
to prove clearly that many weavers who left their homes are unable 
to return to them, and that many still clinging to their villages are in 
utter destitution and distress, and that, guessing most £li,vourably, 
scarcely half of them have looms at work, the remainder of the looms 
being either out of work, or mortgaged for a few rupees for subsistence, 
or sold outright for trifling sums, not exceediog 10 rs., the full price 
of a loom. 

There is yet three months more before the harvest will be in, 
when it is hoped prices will fall, and place food more within the reach 
of the poor than it now is. The reaping of the harvest will no doubt 
give employment to a large number of the poor of the strictly agri- 
cultural population, who are from childhood accustomed to reap, bind 
(sheaves), thresh, and stack i and the entrance of the harvested grain 


itself into the market might reduce the prioes, to what extent (if any 
at all) cannot now be safely calculated on. But what are the weavers 
to do meanwhile ? and what help will the coming harvest bring to 
themi They cannot get work from it, and few landlords would 
engage their services for work which they do not know. Even if 
agricultural prosperity returned so soon, the looms are not likely to 
find immediate employment, while the weavers are still beggars, with- 
out capital, and utterly prostrated. 

It occurred to us that to a class so situated nothing could bring 
sub8tam;tial relief which did not enable them to start their looms once 
more and to live, till the produce of the looms could be brought to 
market and made to yield a svhaistencey to say nothing of a profit. It 
is impossible to hope that the richer class of weavers would come to 
their relief, they themselves having suffered in their degree from the 
feunine and been able, perhaps, just to keep their heads above water, 
nor is it at all likely that capitalists, who deal in cloth, would venture 
to make adva/nces to vmdc/ubted paupers who have not even their 
looms in many cases to weave with. 

The only chance then for the poor weavers is, if they could get 
sums of money from the Relief Fund to live with, and small qiuintities 
of cotton twist, purchased and supplied from the same source, to set 
their looms going. Their after-chances we need not concern oiu*selve8 
much about. We shall have done much if we succeed in bringing 
them back to their looms and setting the looms going. 

We calculated at the meeting, from the census returns, that the 
weaver population of all castes was about 18,000, comprised in about 
4,500 &milies, scattered over 50 villages in all the taluks of the 
district. That 1,500 families (one-third) might be assumed to be well 
ofil That 3,500 might safely be considered as already utterly pau- 
perised or on the very verge of pauperism. That to give these sub- 
sistence and twist, for four or five weeks' work, would require, at 
20 rs. per family, 70,000 rs. That another sum of 25,000 rs. may be 
required for the poorest of the silk-weavers chiefiy in the town of 
Trichinopoly, and that 1,00,000 rs. might thus be found sufficient to 
ameliorate in a substantial manner 3,500 families, consisting of 14,000 
souls, who must othei'wise wander abroad beggars /or years or fall 
victims to starvation and disease. 

If the Executive Committee, on a consideration of these £icts, are 
of opinion that relief of the kind is desirable, and have the funds in 
their power at this late hour of our application, our committee will 
feel thankful for a special grant of the sum named, viz., a lakh, and 
will take every precaution for our plan being carried out in a faithful 
and successful manner. 



One of the agencies employed in the distribution of 
relief funds largely employed this — ^the best, where pi'ac- 
ticable — means of dispensing charity. The Rev. A. D. 
Rowe, of the Krishna district, thus describes his work : — 

In addition to the work for weavers and shoemakers, sinoe mj 
last report work has been given to a great number of poor women — 
including Mahomedans and Sudras, as well as the lower castes ; the 
employment furnished is spinning. There being no cotton found here, 
I had a bandy load brought from Guntur, had it weighed out into 
1^ lb. bundles and distributed, giving 2 annas cooly in advance, 2 
annas more as the work advances, and 4 annas more when the thread 
is done. Though spinning in the country is at all times very poorly 
paying work, the cotton is being taken most eagerly and joyfully by 
these people at present. It gives employment to those members of 
the family who have for a long time not been able to get any work. 

About Inkole (22 miles north of Ongole) the condition of the 
people is still very pitiable. In most of the palema about one half <^ 
the houses are in ruins, i.e., the timbers and roof have been sold, the 
owners have deserted them, and the walls are crumbling down. One 
good effect of our relief is to attiuct the people to their homes and 
villages again, and to inspire confidence. I have never seen such utter 
despair as is manifested by the poorer people here. 

As I should not be able to control the giving of gratuitous 
relief properly, I have hithei'to not given any except in a few cases of 
great want among old and helpless people. To those who are at all 
a^le to work, our present plan commends itself, and it is my opinion 
that it does them more real and lasting good than the same amount 
given gratuitously would do. Many of those who are taking the work 
have expressed the same opinion. 

I shall, however, have made out, or rather make out myself, a 
list of very needy persons whose houses have been consumed by the 
famine, and present it to you by and by. 

If any of the gentlemen who ara on deputation for the committee 
should happen to come as far north as Ongole and should have 
another day to spare, I should be very happy indeed to meet one of 
them at the Inkole Bungalow. With the exception of such local 
help as I can get from police officers and village officials, I am work- 
ing alone on this ' committee,' not from choice but necessity. 

A. Laksmidas Garu, municipal manager of Guntur, who is weU 
acquainted in this section, has promised to accompany me during the 
Christmas holidays. But whether working alone or otherwise, I shall 
do the best I possibly can for the relief of these people with the 
money you have kindly placed at my disposal. 


Inkole (22 miles north of Ongole), December 28, 1877. 

I beg to state that the work of giving relief which your com- 
mittee have kindly entrusted to me has enlarged greatly beyond what 
I bad expected. There is still no work in the fields, and prices of 
grain are higher than they were a month ago. Though T give only 
the ordinary rates for work, Le,, 8 pies a yard for weaving, and from 
8 annas to 14 annas for a pair of shoes, and & rupee a viss for spinning 
cotton, the poor people are most eager to get the work. In ordinary 
times neither spinning nor weaving at these rates is considered pay- 
ing work. This in itself is an indication of the great want still exist- 
ing here. People come from villages as far as sixteen miles to the 
west, i.e,, from the southeastern comer of Narasapet taluk. 

Up to this time we have given work to about fifty villages (list 
enclosed), but in scarcely any case do we give all asked for, thinking 
that if we get this work the remaining portion will be able to get 
along by doing what work may be found about the village. 

The employment which seems to reach the most helpless ciasa of all 
is ihespinning. The cotton is bought in Guntlir, brought here and given 
out in bunches of l^lbs. ; 4 annas cooly is given in advance, and 4 annas 
more when the thread is returned. Until the varega crop is har- 
vested, in about a month, there will be no other work for these people. 

To continue the work of i-elief as begun for a month longer I 
shall need (above the receipts for the goods sold) about 1,000 rs. As 
our cloths sell readily at 60 per cent, of cost, and the shoes at 50 per 
cent., we received a considerable income now which will appear in my 
next financial statement. (N.B. — We do not sell to merchants, but 
only to poor people, else we could sell for a little more.) 

In a former letter I stated that I should apply for some money 
to aid people about Inkole to repair their houses, such as were actually 
consumed by the famine. Last week in a village five miles from here, 
sixteen houses were consumed by fire. They were thatched houses of 
poor people, and they lost their spinning wheels, looms, and in some 
cases their clothing. They applied to me for some help to re-build ; 
they are very badly off indeed, and I shall ask you for a small grant 
for them. After a somewhat careful calculation of what will be needed 
I respectfully ask for the following : — 

To continue the work among the weavers and shoemakers, 
and to give spinning to poor women of all classes who Rs. 
may apply up to January 31 1,000 

For the r**pair of 150 houses consumed by the famine, 

giving 6 rs. each 760 

For the repairof 16 houses consumed by fire in Idipallipadu 

on December 16, giving to each 6 rs. . . .80 

Total 1,830 

A a2 


If your committee have granted the 1,000 rs. applied for for the 
eastern section of Bapatla taluk it will not affect this calculation. I 
have not heard anything about it yet. 

I again ask that you will kindly send a telegram for me to 
Guntur as soon as this action is taken. Thanking you for your kind 
attention to my former letter and re[)ortB. 

ViUajes in whicfi employment is given at present, 

Palaparru, Anavarum, Torlepoder, Rozapalem, Timapurum, Jagga- 
purum, Yedlapudi, Gintunapalum, Uppurlapadadu, Yelluru, Kopperti, 
Sudepudi, Parchoor, Nagulapallem, Timaragapalem, Gottipadu, Jaga- 
lamudi, Uppurturu, Vernapalem, Jujanipilly, Kunkalanurti, Tonamu- 
dunapalen, Peddavemapalem, Yonkayzelapalem, Pusapodu, Idipalli- 
padu, Nutalapodu, Dogupodu, Kondrupodu, Yenamadalu, Nima- 
gudipalen, Yiragani, Naudipadu, Yurjala, Ganapura, Yidavorapadu, 
Tanivuderapalem, Posapodu, Adipudl, Bordada, Abiniguntapalem, 
Tikkiredipalem, Yinagalu, Sirimanundla, Tumulupadi, Cousara, 
Goddipadu, Inkole. 

As I write new applicants are coming for work from villages in 
the Ongole taluk of Nellore distiict. 

Assisting weavers by advances was one of the modes 
of relief which Sir Richard Temple strongly pressed 
upon the Madras Government. Writing on March 12 
the delegate said: — 

I desire to invite attention to the advisability of establishing 
some light labour test for the many thousands of weavers and spinners 
who are now coming upon the hands of Government in several of the 
famine districts of the Madras Presidency. It was proposed, as I 
understand some months ago, by some of the Madras authorities, that 
Crovemment should advance money to enable destitute weavers to buy 
material and carry on their trade. For several reasons it was then 
thought the plan might be deferred. But I submit that the time has 
come when this proposal might, with such modification as may 
be required by local circumstances, be resuscitated and carried into 

Near Bangalore, on a tank, I saw a special gang of poor weavers, 
who were allowed a higher rate for their piece-work than ordinary relief 
labourers, because their habits and the condition of their hands and 
fingers prevented their doing a full day's work. Some similar arrange- 


ments are, I believe, carried out in several places in the Madras Presi- 
dency also. And such arrangements may suffice for those weavers 
who make the coarser fabrics at Adoni, at Bellary. and other places. 

But there are many weavers who work in silk, or who do the 
finer kinds of cotton weaving ; and such people might, if put upon 
tank or road work, become physically unfitted, for a time at any rate, 
to return to their usual employment after the end of the famine. Yet 
many of these poor people are undoubtedly in great btraits ; they can 
get no market for their products, and they can get no credit wherewith 
to buy materials. Yet there are many of them quite ready to work 
to the best of their power, in return for such relief as the State may 
give them. At Salem, for instance, I learnt that the silk weavers 
had reduced themselves to some extremity sooner than go on relief 
works, and at present they are subsisting on an organised private 
charity. Similar instances will ere long occur in Nellore, even if they 
are not already occurring. 

In parts of Bengal (Burdwan and other places), during the 
famine of 1874, advances were made to weavers, and their manufac- 
tures were taken over by Government officers in return for the 
advances and for their support. At some of the relief houses, also, 
weavers were employed in making cotton and silk fabrics. 

(3) Seed-Grain. 

The papers quoted below will show the spirit in 
which the Government were disposed to help the people 
by granting them advances of seed-grain when the 
growing season came round : — 

In their official memorandum above quoted the Board of Bevenue 
called upon all collectors of distressed districts to submit with the least 
possible delay a statement of the cultivation in June talukwar as com- 
pared with the average of the last three years, together with such 
general information regarding the progress and prospects of cultivation 
as they might be in a position to afibrd to enable the Board to judge 
how far it might be necessary to inauguiate a system of money 
advances for the purchase of seed-gi-ain, with reference to the con- 
siderations set forth in their proceedings recorded in G. O., dated 
June 12 1877. 



2. Only five replies have been received as yet, but the Board do 
not consider it necessary to await the i-emainder, as each district must 
be treated separately with reference to its condition and prospects. 
The marginally noted figures extracted from the returns show that in 

Cultivation in June, 


Gaddapah . 












Averaf^e of the 

In June 



In past 3 



17,566 3,749 
8,082 9,058 

• Dry and wet not distinguished. 

Madura, Trichinopoly, and Cuddapah, there has been a very consider- 
able increase in the area brought under cultivation, as compared with 
the corresponding month in previous years in Chingleput. There is a 
slight increase in the month of June itself, but a decrease in the extent 
of cultivation up to the end of the month, whilst in Salem the total is 
less than the avei-age by more than a half, and in one taluk, Uttengeri, 
the cultivation was nil. This state of things is ascribed to the exti*eme 
poverty of the ryots and loss of their cattle. The matter of seed-grain 
is not noticed by any of the collectors, except Mr. MacQuhae, who 
states that ' there is nothing that the Government can do at present ; 
the lyots are ready with their seed and cattle, and nothing is wanted 
but a favourable season.' In some villages in Fulni and in Bamnad, 
however, he apprehends a difficulty about seed. The Board observes 
that provision for advances to the extent of 5,000 rs. has been made 
in the Bamnad estate budget for the cuiTent fasli 

3. The Board consider that the returns for the first four districts 
show that any general aid for the purchase of seed grain was quite 
unnecessary, and as regards Salom it is doubtful whether any assist- 
ance in this direction would have had much effect. It may perhaps 
be necessary to afford assistance in some districts at a later date, but 
it is much to be feared that a large proportion of the early-sown dry 
crops will perish, and that seed and labour will have been lost. In 
order, however, that the ryots may be enabled to take immediate 
advantage of any favourable change in the seasons, the Board think 
that collectors should be authorised to make advances for the puiichase 


of seed-gram within reasonable limits, say 10,000 rs., without previous 
sanction, when such a course is rendered absolutely necessary by the 
poverty of the ryots. If assistance of this nature is to be of any ser- 
vice, it must be afforded directly the necessity arises, and it is desira- 
ble to obviate the delay entailed by a reference to the Board ; further, 
such advances being recoverable as arrears of revenue, the risk is 
materially reduced. The Board will always be able to negative ex- 
travagant proposals, and they think that within a certain limit 
collectors should be empowered to take action directly the necessity 
manifests itself, bearing in mind that lavish expenditure is not 

(True copies and extract.) 

(Signed) C. A. Galton, 

Acting Secretary. 

Proceedings of the Board of Revenue, dated Aug. 1, 1877. 
Bead the following letter from R. W. Barlow, Esq., Collector of 
the Ohingleput District, to C. A. Galton, Esq., Acting Sec- 
retary to the Board of Revenue, dated Madurantakam, July 

27, 1877 :— 

Adverting to G. 0., No. 2,260-A, of the 9th instant, and Board's 
proceedings thereon, No. 3,249, dated the 11th idem, I have the 
honour to report that I fear it will be absolutely necessary in this 
district to give advances of seed-grain for wet crops if the ryots are 
ever to cultivate again. That the bulk of ryots here are exceptionally 
poor is well known to the Board, and just now their condition, in 
addition to want, is almost one of despair. 

2. All the tahsildars, before being consulted, have expressed their 
opinion that such advances are necessary, and a circular has been 
issued asking them what amounts they require, and the figures will 
duly be submitted to the Board for approval. 

3. Seed-grain, however, will not be procurable in the district. The 
wealthy ryots of this district are not numerous, and a good number of 
them live in Madras, and the remainder certainly cannot provide the 
wants of the needy as they might in other districts,^ and I wish to 
know whether the Board will be able to procure it for me. Of course 
I should not desire to distribute any seed until good rain falls, and 
this, I fear, will not now be till October. The time for utilising seed- 
grain for dry crops affected by the south-west monsoon has passed 
except for varagu. 

* Vide paragraphs 2 and 3, Board's Proceediugs, dated Juce C, 1877, No 
2,G36, in G.O., June 12, 1877, No. 1,072-A. 


The collector is authorised to make advances for the purchase of 
seed-grain to all who may really need it. 

4. The Board are of opinion that the advances should be made in 
money, as the purchase of grain by Grovemment officers is likely to 
cause confusion. There are many different kinds of seed, and ryots 
are the best judges of what will suit them. 

(True copy and extract.) 

(Signed) C. A. Galton, 

Acting Secretary, 

Proceedings of the Board of Bevenue, dated Aug. 14, 1877. 
Bead G. O., dated July 28, 1877. 

The Government enquire what the Board are doing, and what they 
propose to do, in the matter of advances for seed-grain. As regards 
the first point the Board beg to refer to the correspondence marginally 
noted. ^ A confidential circular was addressed to collectors by Govern- 
ment in February last, the replies to which showed that district 
officers were almost unanimously of opinion that there was a sufficient 
stock in the hands of the richer lyots, who would supply their poorer 
brethren, and that Government interference was not called for. The 
commissioner of the Nilgiris having, however, applied for sanction to 
advance a small sum for this purpose, the Board were vested with 
authority to deal with such applications and to direct the neoessaiy 
disbursements. A grant of 3,000 rs. was accordingly placed at his 
disposal as requested. Subsequently the collector of Bellary applied 
for a grant of 5 lakhs, and suggested that divisional officers should be 
authorised to make advances for the purchase of cattle, as well as for 

> G.O., April 6, 1877, No. 1,836. 

„ June 12, „ „ 1,972-A. 

„ July 3, „ „ 2,202. 

„ „ 9, „ „ 2,260-A. 

„ June 21, „ „ 2,071-A. 
Board's Proceedings, dated July 11, 1877, No. 8,249. 

» „ „ „ 80, „ „ 8,541. 

» » w w 1> w » o,Oo4. 

Circular Official Memorandum, July 3, 187'7, No. 1,131. 
Board's Proceedings, dated July 31, 1877, No. 3,561. 
Circular Telegram, Miscellaneous No. 1 0,945. 

Beplies to do. 
Telegram to Collector of Bellary, dated July 30, 1877, Miscellaneous 
No. 10,56.3. 


the purchase of seed, at their discretion. The Board thereupon laid 
their views on the whole question fully before Government,* stating 
the reasons which led them to the conclusion that advances for the 
purchase of seed and cattle were of doubtful necessity and expediency, 
and that at any rate the time for any action in that direction had not 
then arrived. The Grovernment concurred in these views, but desired 
that this important matter should be borne in mind. 

2. This expression of the wishes of Government was communicated 
to all collectors of distressed districts (Proceedings, dated July 11, 
No. 3,249), and the Board signified their readiness to grant such 
assistance as might be required, but up to date only two applications 
have been received, namely, that disposed of in Board's proceedings 
dated August 1, Ko. 3,584, wherein the collector of Chingleput was 
authorised to make advances for the purchase of seed-grain to all who 
may need it, and one from the collector of North ALrcot, just received, 
which will be dealt with in a similar manner. Similar instructions 
were issued to the collector of Bellary by telegram, reports of a 
deficiency of seed-grain in the western taluks having reached the 
Board, and the collector of Kumool was directed in Board's proceed- 
ings, dated July 26, 1877, No. 3,511, to watch the condition of the 
head assistant collector's division in this respect. The Board also 
called for a return of the area under crops in June as compared with 
tlie average of the three preceding years, with the view of ascertaining 
whether the cultivation returns afforded any indication of inability on 
the part of the ryots to till their lands. A few replies only have been 
received, and these show with one exception a considerable excess over 
the average of past years ; the Board, however, deemed it advisable 
without waiting for complete information from all districts to recom- 
mend that collectors should be vested with authority to grant advances 
for purchase of seed-grain within a certain limit, as they must be the 
best judges of the necessity for the measure ; the Board can only act on 
the recommendations made by district officers, and a reference entails 
delay. No orders have as yet reached the Board. 

3. The accompanying statement of cultivation up to June (A), as 
compared with the average of the previous five years in the nine most 
distressed districts, shows that in all except Bellary, Coimbatore, and 
Salem the breadth of cultivation under both heads * dry * and * wet * 
has considerably exceeded the average, so that cultivation has not so 
far been retarded by a want of seed-grain as far as two-thirds of them 
are concerned : whether this had anything to do with the falling off 
in the other three there is nothing to show, but from the collector's 

» Proceedings, June 6, 1877, No. 2,636. 


telegram it appears that in Salem, at any rate, the local supply is be- 
Keved to be sufficient. The collectors concerned were again addressed 
by telegram on the 7th instant, and requested to state whether a 
sufficient quantity of seed-gi-ain is procurable locally, and if not to 
specify their requirements, in order that the Board might arrange for 
a supply. Replies have been received from the districts marginally 
noted. ^ Mr. Grose believes that if money be advanced grain will be 
forthcoming, though at exorbitant itites ; Mr. Price considers that 
local stocks will suffice, and strongly deprecates State interference ; in 
the other districts also no difficulty is anticipated. 

4. As to what the Board propose they are of opinion that, as a 
general principle when aid is considered necessary, as it certainly often 
will be for the purchase of grain, it should be aiForded in the shape of 
a money advance, the intervention of Government for the purchase 
and distribution of seed-grain being neither generally expedient nor in 
fact feasible. But collectors will be invited, if they consider seed sup- 
plies indispensable from any particular causes, to make their recom- 
mendations to the Board, whereupon the Board will be prepared to 
do their utmost to arrange for supplies being obtained. The necessity 
may occur, but it is earnestly to be hoped it will not, for undoubtedly 
the practical difficulties in meeting it efficiently will be enormous, and 
apart from the obstacles in the way of the transportation, stoittge, and 
distiibution of several hundreds of tons of grain, the ryots have their 
predilections and would probably object to make experiments with 
seed to which they are unaccustomed. As already pix)posed in the 
proceedings now before Government it should be left to the discretion 
of collectors, who are in a position to obtain the most trustworthy 
information as to existing stocks and can best judge when and where 
State help is needed, to decide whether advances should be given, and 
to make disbursements within a certain liberal limit, for exceeding 
which sanction should be obtained. The Board concur with the 
collector of NeUore in thinking that if money is furnished grain will 
be forthcoming and that deficient stocks will be supplemented by im- 
portation : the state of the stocks must be far better known to the 
leading ryots and native merchants in each district than to Govern- 
ment and their officers, and private trade may be relied upon to 
supply what is needfuL 

5. The Board would not lay down any hard and fast rules as to 
the amounts to be advanced, the period of recovery, &c. Such ad- 
vances are recoverable as arrears of revenue, and fcuch conditions with 
r^ard to security as are provided in the Mysore rules appear unneces- 

' NeUore, Guddapah, Euniool, Tanjore, Trichiuupoly, Salem, Madura. 


sary ; the fewer formalities the better ; the solvency and capacity to 
cultivate of the applicant should be ascei-tained by inquiry through 
the village officers ; the registered holder only should be eligible to 
receive an advance ; the amount should be proportioned to the means 
and extent of land owned by the applicant, and a simple receipt for 
the money is all that need be required. There must in any case be 
considerable risk in any system of advances to impoverished ryots 
which is not likely to be materially diminished by i-equiring personal 
sureties. The principle of the 4th rule is, in the Board's opinion, 
erroneous ; the class most needing assistance is to be found amongst 
ryots paying more than 20 rs. annually in assessment, and efforts 
should be directed towards enabling them to tide over the crisis ; the 
smaller ryots must in many cases sink for the present to the grade of 
agricultural labourers, and it will serve no good purpose to try to 
avert this fate. The Mysore rules may work in a small province but 
are not suited to the circumstances of this Presidency, nor shoiild 
advances be allowed for the purchase of ploughing cattle ; the argu- 
ments advanced by the Board at paragraph 5 of their Proceedings of 
June 6 last are, it is submitted, conclusive as to the inutility of any 
such scheme. 

6. At the suggestion of Sir William Bobinson, K.C.S.I., some 
statistics are furnished which may serve as a rough guide to the ex- 
penditure which the Grovemment must be prepared to incur in the 
event of their determining upon any measures for the provision of 
seed-grain or fiinds for the purchase of it. The average area culti- 
vated under the north-east monsoon (October to March) during the 
five years ending 1875-76 is 4,481,618 acres in the nine districts 
principally affected by the famine ; the proportions of cholum and ragi 
required may be estimated with reference to the areas sown with those 
crops, the two principal dry food-grains, as shown in the crop state- 
ment for Fasli 1284,* a favourable season, on the assumption that one 
ton of seed-grain will suffice for 80 acres of punjah and 30 acres of 
nunjah land ; valuing the grain at the prices ruling in Madras on July 
31, according to the collectors' retm-ns the i-esult is that it will cost 
approximately nine lakhs of rupees to furnish seed-grain for one-tenth 
of the area likely to be brought under cultivation. From these data 
the sum involved in providing seed-grain or the means of purchasing 
it for any given proportions of the cultivated ai-ea can be readily 
ascertained ; but any attempt to extend aid of this nature to all those 

* Paddy, 10*08 seers of 80 tolahs per lupee. 
Cholum, 8*06 „ „ 

Bagi, 7-9. 



who may from a confflderation of the amount of the assessment paid 
by them be presumed to stand in need of assistance must entail a vast 
outlay as the last quinquennial returns show that nearly half the land 
assessment is paid by ryots holding puttahs for less than 50 rs. — Vide 
the marginal extract from paragraph 33, Board's Proceedings, em* 
bodied in G.O., dated February 11, 1874, No. 184 :— 



Ryots paying less than 10 rupees 
„ 10 to 30 rupees . 
„ 30 to 60 „ . . . 

Above 50 rupees ..... 








C. A. Galton, 

Acting Secretary. 

Enclosure No. 1. 

A. — Statement ehoumg the Area under Cultivation in 1877-8 up to June, 
compared with the Average of Jive years ending 1875-6 during the same 










1. Nellore 







2. Cuddapah . 







3. Bellary . 







4. Kumool . 







5. Gbiugleput 







6. NortiiArcot 







7. Madura 







8. Ooimbatore 



154,456 272,971 



9. Salem 

Total . 









580,950 617,682 





C. A. Galton, 

Acting Secretary, 



Enclosube No. 2. 

B. — Average CuUivatum during the Jive years ending 1875- 6, under the 
NoHh-east Monsoon {October to March) and Estimate^ of quantity of 
Seed required for 10 per cent, thereof. 

Acres Cultivated 

Seed required for one-tenth area 

Y\ia^ri t*^u 














1. Ouddapah . 



442,539, 392-6 



2. Bellary . 



884,775 981-4 



3. Kurnool . 

374,712 6,877 

381,589' 459-8 



4. Nellore 

405,227, 93,770 

498,997! 463-2 



5. Ohingleput 

109,a30 166,819 

275,649 19-8 



6. North Arcot 

125,245 79,470 

204,715 29-1 



7. Madura . ; 

340,783 86,513 

427,296 266-7 



8. Coimbatore 

1,011,002 35,109 

1,046,1 1 1 945-6 



9. Salem 

Total .' 


294,490' 25,457 





3,912,241 669,377 

4,481,618 3,618-0 











or nil 

le lakhs nearly. 


^ Note. — Seed required for ' Dry ' has been assumed at 1 ton for 80 acres, 
and for ' Wet ' at 1 ton for 30 acres. (Signed) G. A. Galton. 

Acting Secretary. 

Appendix to Statement B. 

Statement showing Proportion of CTiolum, Raggy and other Dry Crope cultivated 

according to Crop Returns for Fadi 1284 


Choi am 






Percentage of 


to Total 



to ToUl 












Drv to 





Cuddapah . 
Ohingleput . 
North Arcot 
* Madura 











































C. A. Galton, 

Acting Secretary. 


Enclosure No. 3. 

Miscellaneous No. 10,553. 
Telegram to Collector of Bellary, dated July 30, 1877. 
' Give advances for seed-grain wherever necessary ; said to be 
wanted in western taluks.' 

Miscellaneous No. 10,945. 
Telegram to Collectors of distressed Districts, dated August 7, 1877. 

* Is sufficient seed-grain procurable locally 1 if not, state whether 
Board should arrange for supply, specifying description and quantity?' 

(True Copies.) 

(Signed) C. A. Galton, 

Acting Secretary. 

Enclosure No. 4. 
Telegram from the Collector of Nellore, dated August 8, 1877. 

* Cannot ascertain stocks seed-grain. Believe ryots having money 
can get, but price exorbitant. Supply by Board unadvisable. Best 
to encourage importation by letting people know taocavy may be 
granted {vide my letter on subject, paragraph 14).' 

Telegram from the Collector of Kumool, dated August 8, 1877. 
' It is generally believed that sufficient seed-grain of sorts is pro- 
curable in the canal taluks. Further inquiries are being made.' 

Telegram from the Collector of Tanjore, dated August 8, 1877. 

* Sufficient seed-grain procurable locally.' 

Letter from the Acting Collector of Cuddapah, dated August 9, 1877, 

No. 416. 

In reference to your telegram of the 2nd instant, I have the 
honour to state that, as far as I can learn from personal observation 
and inquiry, made from time to time, seed-grain is procurable 

2. I do not think that for the present any supply is needed. I 
would most strongly advocate leaving the matter of seed and cattle 
alone, as, if a beginning as regards either is made, there is no know- 
ing where it will end and to what cost it will not put the State. 

3. Some ryots, I dare say, are without seed, but they are men of 
the poorest class ; they have no cattle, and would only eat the grain 
if given to them. 

Telegram from the Collector of Trichinopoly, dated August 9, 1877. 

* No difficulty in seed-grain now.' 


Letter from tJie Collector of Madura^ dated Attgust 9, 1877, iTo. 522. 

In reply to the Board's telegram of the 7th instant, I have the 
honour to point out that it is useless to answer the question asked 
now as the drought is such that no cultivation can be commenced in 
any of the Government taluks or in Ramnad. A considerable area 
of punjah land was sown in some of the taluks when rain fell in May 
and the beginning of June, and before this second period of drought 
set in. Some of this crop is dead, and the question now is whether 
showera will come in time to save the rest. If a change of season 
occurs within a reasonable time I would not recommend the Board to 
interfere in any way for the supply of seed, but supposing this drought 
to last till the end of October, as it probably may, I think there will 
be great difficulty about seed, and, if the north-east monsoon rain fails 
also, I cannot see how Government is to prevent large tracts of country 
from being temporarily depopulated. South Eamnad has now been 
depopulated for more than seven months, but I have no doubt the 
people will come back and the country will recover if a favourable 
change occurs within a reasonable time. At present I can only say 
that I am assured by leading merchants that they and many others 
have sufficient seed in store ; that some of it has been in store for more 
than a year ; and that they are ready to give it to the ryots as soon as 
rain falls. I trust that rain will fall before this seed is spoilt, for it 
will not be good for more than eighteen months. 

Telegram from the Collector of Salem, dated August 11, 1877. 
* Your telegram eighth. Supply of seed-grain sufficient locally.' 

(True copy.) 
(Signed) C. A. Galton, 

Acting Secretary. 

No. 294-D. Order thereon, August 21, 1877, No. 2,547-A. 

1. The Government concur with the Board as to the necessity of 
authorising collectors to make advances of money for the purchase of 
seed-grain only, and Empower the Board to authorise them accordingly 
within such limits as the Board may deem it expedient to fix in 
each case. 

2. The Board will keep the Government continuously informed of 
their action in this matter and of the necessity, should such arise, for 
further measures. 

(True extiuct.) 

(Signed) J. H. Garstin, 

Additional Secretary to Government. 


The total amounts granted by the Board of Revenue 
under this head to March 30, 1878, will be gathered 
from the following table : — 

NeUoro 29,628 

Bellary 97,806 

Kumool 2,862 

Ohingleput 22,714 

North Arcot . . . . . . 23,219 

South Arcot 23,779 

Madura 30,000 

Tinnevelly 13,894 

Ooimbatore 73,380 

Salem 71,478 

Total . . 3,89,219 

A large proportion of the sum subscribed by the 
people of Great Britain and the Colonies was disbursed 
for the purchase of seed-grain and plough bullocks; but 
aid in this direction was only given to cultivators too 
far reduced to afford any security which would enable 
them to receive advances from Government. 

(4) Prickly-pear as Food for Cattle. 

When fodder failed in the famine districts for want 
of rain, great anxiety was experienced as to means 
whereby the cattle might be kept alive. In Bombay 
and some districts of the Madras Presidency the only 
plan adopted was to drive the cattle to grazing lands 
on the higher hills, which was generally Government 
reserve. In Madras, thanks to an enterprising firm 
at Bellary — Messrs. Harvey & Sabaputhy — something 
more was done. At the very beginning of the distress 
these gentlemen wrote to Mr. ThomhiU, C.S.I., who 
was on special duty in the Bellary district, a letter, in 
which the following passages appear: — 


'Owing to the fiuuine preyailing throughout the Presideiieyy 
eBpecially in the Bellarj district, large numbers of cattle, on which 
the lyots depend principally^ are reported to be dying through starva 
tion, and are also being sold for nominal prices, les^ even than the 
value of their hides, to butchers. To relicTC this distress as much as 
is in our power, and to impress upon the lyots the necessity of follow- 
ing our example, we have adopted the system of feeding our own cattle, 
twenty-five in number, with the leaves of the "prickly-pear ;" although 
the feeding of cattle in this way has been made known both through 
official and private sources, the lyots did not adopt it on account of the 
great trouble and inconvenience connected therewith, in the absence of 
proper instruments to enable them to do so with ease. This difficulty 
we have surmounted by means of three instruments, samples of which 
we send herewith for your inspection, viz., a pair of tongs to catch the 
leaf, a pair of pincers to remove the prickles, and a knife to cut away 
the leaf. After gathering the leaves as described above, it is necessary 
to wash each one in water, with a brush, a piece of '^ gunny," or the 
root of the cholum stalk, to prevent injury to the fingers, and to take 
away all the stray and loose thorns adhering to the gummy matter. 
Of course the cattle require to be taught to eat this fodder for the first 
three or four days by putting the leaf folded or in pieces into their 
mouths, and afterwards they will eat it as greedily as boiled grain. 
By this simple process wo are now keeping all our cattle in good con- 
dition. Our experience has taught us that this fodder is as good and 
as nourishiDg as green choliun stalks both for bullocks, mUch cows, 
and buffisJoes. 

' The ryots are so conservative that we had great difficulty in im- 
pressing upon them the advantages of this system until we sent a couple 
of our bullocks with a basket of this fodder into the market^ where 
more than 200 bullocks were being exposed for sale last Friday, and 
there set them to eat, and at the same tune showing the owners the 
method and instruments necessary, and ofiering to sell them at a 
nominal price of two annas. This had such a wonderful effect that 
many took home their cattle resolved to adopt the system. So far as 
the town of Bellary is concerned, many of the ryots and others have 
taken our example, and purchased instruments from us. 

' We need hardly mention that bullocks are the main support o£ 
the ryots and also tito means by which the whole traffic of the country 
i8 carried on where railways have not yet penetrated, but they also 
form the means by which they earn not only their livelihood, but the 
revenues payable to GJovemment. Under these circumstances, it would 
be very impolitic on the part of the Qovemment at any cost not to 
take immediate steps to preserve these useful animals from starvation 



and deftth, as the eventual loss to Govemment, the owners, tradersy 
in fact to all, would be inestimable. 

'We therefore propose that at all places where tahsildars and 
deputy tahsildars are located, sheds be erected, or shady places be 
selected, where the cattle of all who are unable to support them be 
collected, and a gang of coolies out of those at present employed on 
the relief works comparatively of little use be set apart to collect 
prickly-pear, and therewith to feed all the cattle presented. Oar ex- 
perience has been that one only can gather enough to support a couple 
of bullocks. By this means we feel sure that all the cattle which 
would otherwise perish would be saved to the advantage of all con- 

* Notices might be sent to all the villages to the effect that the 
bullocks of all who are unable to feed them would be received at these 
sheds and taken care of in the above manner until such time as rain 
falls, and they are able themaelves to procure fodder. By these simple 
and inexpensive means (as the coolies in any case have to be employed 
and paid) the property of the lyot, who is the principal pecuniary 
support to Government, may be preserved. 

' If it is considered that this system is in any way impracticable, 
we are prepared to undertake to carry out the business in Bellary, 
Adone, and Tadputri where our works and agencies are established, 
provided that Government grants us a sufficient number of coolies, say 
at the rate of one for each couple of bullocks, if desired, oi course 
under supervision of the Government officials. In the event of the 
bullocks being lost to the ryot, it will take many years for him to 
regain his former position. We trust that you will be good enough 
to give this suggestion your early attention, as even a day is of great 

A copy of this letter was forwarded to the Board 
of Revenue with samples of the instruments. The 
Board remarked : — * A similar proposal was made by- 
Mr. Thomas, the present Collector of Tanjore, in 1866, 
and to a limited extent the plant was used as fodder in 
that year. The Board observe that the instruments 
sent are somewhat similar to those designed by Mr. 
Thomas, but of far cheaper construction. The sugges- 
tion appears to the Board to be worthy of further trial 
in the present necessity, and the letter will be commu- 
nicated to collectors of distressed districts.' 


In February, Mr. Harvey furnished the Madras 
Government with two reports by Veterinary Surgeon 
Cox, of Bellary, on cattle fed on prickly-pear, and 
trusted that Government officers would take the trouble 
to make them public amongst the ryots. The healthy 
animal was slaughtered for post-mortem examination at 
the instance of the Aide-de-camp to Sir Richard 
Temple, who strongly recommended the support of cattle 
in the Bellary district on that useful though despised 

The reports were in the following terms : — 

Enclosure No. 1. 

At your request the cow fed on prickly-pear was destroyed on 
February 13 (Tuesday). 

Fost-morteni examination revealed the whole of the internal 
viscera healthy ; the stomach and intestines contained large masses 
of prickly-pear in various stages of digestion and assimilation ; the 
function of the different organs seemed to be properly performed, and 
reparation of tissues generally carried on in a satisfactory manner. 

Enclosuee No. 2. 

In answer to your letter, I beg to state that I examined the cattle 
at your establishment fed on prickly-pear ; they seemed to be in good 
health, although in poor condition. 

At my request prickly-pear was given them with a little meal 
scattered over it ; they ate ravenously, and seemed to enjoy it. From 
information received, it appears that each animal gets a daily allow- 
ance of 40 lbs. with 1 lb. of rice straw. 

So far I see no reason why cattle should not be able to subsist on 
prickly-pear, if it is properly prepared and administered whilst they 
are in a condition to stand the change. If they are allowed to be- 
come very much emaciated an addition of a small quantity of grass 
or grain might be necessary. Their not liking it at first is due, 
probably, to its peculiar taste; this may be easily overcome by a 
little patience and judicious management. 

As you have so kindly placed one or two animals at my disposal 
for experiment, I purpose visiting your establishment again for fur- 
ther inquiries. 

B B 2 


This report was communicated to collectors of all 
distressed districts ; and it was impressed upon officers 
that every endeavour should be made to spread the 
knowledge of the utility of the plant as fodder. 

A. large number of most interesting reports were, 
in August 1877, sent to the Board of Revenue, and 
were summarised for the Government of India. After 
describing the circumstances under which Messrs. 
Harvey and Sabaputhy initiated the effort, the Addi- 
tional Secretary to Government goes on to say: — ' On 
the 18th of January, the collector of Cuddapah informed 
the Board of Revenue that he saw no way of keeping 
the cattle alive, except by making the feeding of them 
with prickly-pear a famine work ; and he asked that he 
should be allowed to form dep6ts for feeding the cattle, 
and to supply tho labour and instruments, which cost 
only a couple of annas, gratis. In their proceedings of 
the 24th Januarj-, the Board approved of the experi- 
ment to the extent of an outlay of 500 rupees, the 
result to be reported after a month. This Government 
being disposed to give the experiment a more extended 
trial, authorised the Board to instruct all collectors of 
districts, where fodder for cattle was not procurable, to 
try the experiment within the limit laid down by the 
Board for Cuddapah. In the case of Madura only was 
the purchase of animals on which to try the experiment 
sanctioned. Some, however, were also purchased in 

* With their proceedings of the 24th May, the Board 
submit the reports called for from the collectors. Re- 
ports have been received from the districts as shown in 
the marffin.^ Of these fourteen districts the collectors 
of Trichinopoly, Tanjore, and Kistna report that, as 

' 1. Kistna. 2. NpUore. 3. Cuddapah. 4. Kurnool. 6. North Arcot. 
G. Tanjore. 7. Trichinopoly. 8. Madura. 9. TinnevoUy, 10. Saleu. 
11. Malabar. 12. Bellaiy. 13. Chingleput. 14. Coimbatore. 



other fodder was available and was not likely to fail, 
the experiment was not made by them. From North 
Arcot the collector reports that the experiment could 
not be tried owing to press of other work. In Tinne- 
velly and Malabar there is no prickly-pear. No par- 
ticulars of the experiments as to cost, numbers fed, etc. 
are given for the districts of Nellore, Bellary, Salem, 
Chingleput and Coimbatore. In all these districts, how- 
ever, sufficient data on which to form a general con- 
clusion have been obtained. 

* The unanimous opinion of the collectors may be 
stated to be that, if gradually accustomed to this food, 
cattle will eat the cactus with relish, and will thrive on 
it after a little time. Owing, however, to the great 
labour and consequent cost involved in its preparation, 
together with the extremely disagreeable nature of the 
labour itself, it is never likely to be largely, or indeed 
at all, resorted to except in times of great pressure and 
want of forage. The cultivators generally are much 
adverse to its use on the ground that it causes diarrhoea 
and dysentery, but without sufficient ground apparently, 
according to the reports. In many instances, however, 
some impression has been made on their prejudices, 
though it is expected to pass away quickly. 

* The experiments have been carefully and system- 
atically carried out and reported only in three dis- 
tricts, and the results are tabulated below : — 


Kumool . 
Madura . 

No. of 




Average I Average 
number of number of 

cattle fed 


da^s for 
which fed 



Entire cost of 
experiment, in- 
cluding feeding 

248 11 2 

460 14 11 

•212 11 9 

Daily cost 

per head 






^ Oost higb; as hill grass was expensive. The cactus had to be brought 
a long waj. • Of this sum, Rs. 171 12 was paid for the cattle. 


* From these figures it will be seen that the cost 
per head daily, which represents almost entirely the 
cost of the labour necessary for the preparation of the 
plant, is so great as to preclude its introduction as 
fodder generally. In Mr. Robertson's Farm report for 
1876 (pages 57 to 60) it is similarly shown that the 
fodder is costly, and its use suited to times of extra- 
ordinary pressure only. 

' The ration given in Cuddapah was at first 20 to 
25 lbs. of the cactus per head. This it was subsequently 
found necessary to increase to 40 lbs. per head. In 
Kumool the ration seems throughout to have been 
from 20 to 22 lbs. of the cactus and 4 lbs. of hill grass. 
In Madura the ration is not distinctly stated, but two 
men are said to be able to prepare enough cactus for 
8 beasts. It does not, however, seem to have been the 
only fodder used. Where cattle are fed on the cactus 
alone a ration amounting to 40 lbs. per head must be 
given. The quantity which a man can prepare daily is 
stated at 60 lbs. 

* Two methods of preparing the plant were tried. 
Under the first the thorns were removed by roasting, 
but this mode of preparation proved a failure in the 
Chingleput and Coimbatore districts, where alone it 
was tried. The second method is removing the thorns 
with pincers, and cutting the leaves into pieces, about 
an inch square, with a knife made for the purpose. 
The leaf should be given half sun-dried, or else should 
be carefully wiped. It should not be much handled as, 
if it is so, a glutinous substance exudes which is dis- 
tateful to the cattle, and to it is ascribed slight dysen- 
tery or diarrhoea which prevailed in one camp. The 
leaf has, at first, in many instances, to be forcibly in- 
troduced into the animal's mouth, and has in all cases 
to be mixed with salt and bran or oil-cake or some 
such other bait before it will eat it voluntarily.* 


In Mysore the experience gained was satisfactory. 
The Deputy-Commissioner of Chittaldroog said: — 

' The Pavagada Taluk Amildar has been nioet saooessfal in his 
attempts; several animals he began to feed on December 12 are now 
reported to be quite fat, and that the owners of some of them have 
removed them. 

' My own experiments have been more limited, but, on the whole, 
successful. I have found that, if the prickly-pear is burnt sufficiently 
to remove all thorns and well washed, animals eat it with greediness. 
I have tried the experiment on my own animals, and also upon a 
Government Amrut Mahal bull — the latter has been entirely fed 
upon it for the last three months, and, although not in such good 
condition as grass er straw fed cattle, he has thrived hitherto re- 
markably well. This animal has been under my own observation, 
and in my own compound. 

* It may be interesting to remark that, in a village in the Doderi 
taluk, a small portion of this plant was set on fire by some villagers, 
the thorns only being burnt up, but, as soon as this had been done, 
some six or eight head of cattle made a rush at it and ate it up. I 
only regret that the supply is so scarce, as there is no other plant that 
appears to answer the purposes of fodder.' 

For exceptional seasons, and for these only, the 
cactus known as prickly-pear would seem to be of great 




Whilst the proofs of this work are passing through the 
press enquiries are in progress regarding the mortality 
in the famine districts. It will be some time before all 
the evidence which has been obtained can be collected 
and trustworthy results deduced. Meanwhile, the 
Government of India have courteously placed at the 
disposal of the author certain documents, upon which 
a judgment may be founded. They are quoted below. 

By Col. Merriman, R.E. 

The census was taken on the 19th of January 1878. The general 
census of 1872 was taken on the 21st of February. The times of 
year selected on the two occasions correspond sufficiently to prevent 
any ordinary annual movement among the population from vitiating 
a comparison between the residts of the two censuses. 

Nine Collectorates were affected more or less severely by the 
famine, but it was not considered necessary to take a census in all of 
these. The five districts in which, according to returns received from 
the Sanitary Commissioner, the mortality had, during the nine months 
ending with September 1877, been highest, were chosen. These were, 
in order according to the height of the rate of mortality in each, 
Kaladgi, Dharwar, Belgaum, Satara, Sholapur. 

The period of nine months mentioned above was taken, as January 
1877 was considered to be the first month in which the death-rate 
could possibly have been affected by the scarcity, and as September 
was the last month for which returns were available. Had a selection 
of the five worst districts been made not on the basis of the mortuary 
returns but on the general information in the hands of Crovomment . 


the only difference woiild have been that Poena wonld have been sub- 
stituted for Satara. 

Within the five districts, taluks were selected in this wise : in 
order to know the worst, the taluk in which the death-rate appeared 
to have been highest was chosen, and in order to have an estimate of 
the efEdct of the famine on the whole population of the district, that 
taluk was chosen in which the death-rate had been most nearly iden- 
tical with the death-rate of the district. The taluks in which the 
death-rate was shown as the highest in each district were, Sangola in 
Sholapur, Man in Satara, Bagalkot in Kaladgi, Athni in Belgaum, 
and Eon in Dharwar. And the taluks in which the rate of 
mortality most nearly agreed with that of the district were, Madha 
in Sholapur, Khatau in Satara, Badami in Kaladgi, Sampgaon in 
Belgaum, and Kod in Dharwar. 

Of these ten taluks accordingly a census has been taken. And 
the method of selection having been as above described, it follows that 
it would be meaningless to combine, in the way of aggregation, the 
results pertaining to the first group of five taluks with those of the 
second group, or indeed to take the aggregate of the results belonging 
to the first five taluks at all. The returns of each of these taluks 
must be looked at individually : their purpose is to show how far the 
population of each district has been affected by the famine in that 
sub-division in which, as was conjectured, the effect of the famine was 
greatest — ^though, as is explained below, they cannot in all cases be 
accepted as indicating this. On the other hand, the second group of 
taluks having been selected each as the average representative of its 
district, the results in their case, it was expected, might have been 
combined to furnish an estimate of the effect of the famine on the 
whole population of the five districts. But though at the time of 
selecting the worst and the mean taluks it was thought best to be 
guided by the mortuary returns, the results of the census tend to 
show that those returns did not furmsh the very best guide. In the 
cases of Sholapur and Kaladgi the taluks selected as average ones 
appear from the census to have suffered much more than those sup- 
posed to be the worst. But it is to be noticed that in these two cases 
the selection of worst taluks made on the basis of the mortuary 
returns is not the same as would have been made if the recorded 
accounts of the condition of the taluks only had been considered, 
while in those cases in which the mortuary returns correspond with 
the general accounts of the taluks, the census returns also are found 
to agree. Thus in the districts of Satara, Belgaum and Dharwar, the 
taluks of Man, Athni and Ron respectively are indicted as the worst 
as well by the accounts received of the failure of crops, &c., as by the 
mortuary returns. But in Sholapur it is the very taluk (Madha) 


selected by the mortuary returns, as an average one, that the reports 
at the close of 1876 showed to be the worst of all. Madha was the 
only taluk in Sholapur in which the outturn of both kharif and rabi 
crops was estimated as ilothing. Of the taluks of Kaiadgi worse 
accounts were given of three others than of either Bagalkot or BadamL 
The returns of the taluks of the second group therefore must be taken, 
like those of the first, each by itself. And in judging of the returns 
of the ten taluks it can safely be assumed only in the case of Man, 
Athni and Ron that the taluk in question is the worst of its district, 
though that is probably true also in the case of Madha. Of the 
other taluks Sangola may be taken as one of the worst three in 
Sholapur, Khatau as one of the worst four in Satara ; Bagalkot was 
a little below the avei*age, and Badami — except in the matter of 
prices— one of the be»t in Kaiadgi; the accounts of Sampgaon are 
conflicting, as its crops were estimated to be among the best in the 
district, while as regards rainfall and prices it was amongst the worst; 
Kod was one of the best districts in Dharwar. 

The purpose of the census being merely to ascertain to what 
extent the growth of the population had been checked by the famine, 
it was deemed unnecessary to make the census meet all the require- 
ments of the elaborate returns called for on the occasion of the general 
census. Other reasons of simplifying the work as much as possible 
were the long and trying labours the district officers and their subor- 
dinates had just undergone and the wish to obtain the results of the 
census while famine and famine policy were still prominent objects 
in the deliberations of the Indian Governments. Accordingly those 
of the statements presciibed for the general census of 1872 which 
are not addi^essed to matters liable to be immediately influenced by 
famine have been on this occasion omitted, and no classifications of 
the population have been made except those according to (1) sex, (2) 
age, (3) religion in so far as the divisions connote race, (4) condition 
as judged from the style of house dwelt in, and (5) occupation in so 
far as it is agricultural or not. As regards the classification according 
to ages, the same divisions of age have been observed as in 1872. As 
regards religion, the numbers of Buddhists and Christians in the 
districts in question were too small for it to be worth while to main- 
tain them as separate classes — indeed it was only on account of the 
numbers of these classes in Burma and Madras that they were so 
distinguished in 1872 — so only Hindus and Muhammadans have 
been shown separately and the few others remaining counted to- 

The results of the census now taken are set forth in certain tables, 
and, to facilitate comparison, the corresponding figures of the census 
of 1872 are set out in parallel lines throughout the tables, the dif- 


ferenoe in each case being shown in a third line below. In some 
points — ^but fortunately points of less importance — no comparison is 
practicable, as different standards have been adopted or some of the 
instructions differently interpreted on the two occasions, and indeed 
in different districts and different taluks of the same district on the 
same occasion. Thus a comparison of the number of enclosures with 
the number of houses shows that the definition of enclosure has in 
some cases been misunderstood. A comparison of the number of 
houses of the better sort in 1872 with the number in 1878 shows 
that in some cases a different standard of quality has been taken. 
Again in both taluks of Belgaum and in Madha of Sholapur some 
classes not counted as Hindus in 1872 have obviously been counted 
as such in 1878. And lastly the number given as the total agricid- 
tural population is, in many instances in the returns of 1872 and in 
the case of Kaladgi in 1878, obviously too small in comparison with 
the number of male agriculturists above 20 years of age. But these 
discrepancies do not interfere with the more important objects of the 
census. The salient points indicated by the different tables are con- 
sidered in the following paragraphs. 

The first table shows that with the exception of the taluk of Rod 
in Dharwar where there is a slight increase, there has been a diminu- 
tion in the population of every taluk since 1872. Of the population 
recorded in 1872 the percentage of diminution for each taluk is given 
below : — 

Sangola ^ P®^ ^^^' 

Madha 19 „ 

Man 12 „ 

Khatau 10 „ 

Bagalkot H n 

Hadami 20 


Athni 13 „ 

Sampgaon ^ ti 

Ron 7 


In Kod an increase of 1*7 is shown on the population of 1872. 

This is briefly the result of the census just taken, but an examina- 
tion of the detailed returns is necessary to a proper understanding of 
its significanoe. 

In the second table the people are classified (1) according as they 
live in houses of the better or of inferior sort, (2) according to sex, 
and (3) according as they are Hindus, Muhammadans or of some 
other denomination. 

That the poorer people should suffer from the scarcity more than 
those in better condition is axiomatic, but the table furnishes no 


means of comparing the ratios of diminution of the two divisionfl, as 
the classification of houses has not been regular. 

An examination of colimms 7 and 8 of this table discloses that 
the number of males has diminished a great deal more than the num- 
ber of females. This is true of every taluk except Kod, where there 
has been no diminution, and where such increase as there has been 
is more among males than females. The exception is important as 
indicating, so fieur as it goes, that the difference in the rates of diminu- 
tion of males and females is really due to a cause relating to famine — 
the cause being found to bear its result in eyery taluk except that in 
which the influence of the famine was least. The percentage of 
diminution in the nimibers of each sex in each of the nine other 
taluks is shown below : — 



Percentage of diminu- 
tion OF THE Population 
OF 1872 




Satfua . 

Kaladgi . 


Dharwar . . ^ 

Sanerola . 
Man . 
Khatau . 
Bapralkot . 
Badami . . 
Ron . 






As there is no known reason why the male population should decrease 
much, if at all, faster than the female, whereas it is probable that 
men go further in search of occupation than women, the deduction 
to be drawn appears to be that part of the diminution of population 
the census shows in this respect is due to migration only. 

The third table shows, separately for males and females, the popu- 
lation divided into nine classes according to age. (Comparing the 
results with those of the census of 1872 it will be seen that there is 
a very great diminution in the numbers of very young children, 
an increase in the numbers of older children and persons up to 20 
years of age, a slight diminution in those between 20 and 40 years of 
age, a more considerable diminution of those above 40, and a great 
diminution in those above 60 years of age. Or, stating the results in 
greater detail, the diminution in the number of infants under one 
year of age varies from 23 per cent, in Kod to 73 per cent, in Badami ; 
that in the children between one and six years of age from 13 per 
cent, in Man to 41 per cent in BagaJkot. The number of children 


between 6 and 12 has increased in seven out of the ten taluks. So 
also the persons between 12 and 20 years of a^ have increased in 
seven out of the ten taluks. But those between 20 and 30 are 
fewer in eight taluks ; those between 30 and 40 fewer in seven taluks; 
those between 40 and 50 fewer in nine taluks, the peroenta^ of 
dimiuution rising to 21 per cent, in Man ; those between 50 and 60 
are fewer in eight taluks, the percentage rising to 28 per cent, in 
Badami ; and those above 60 years of age are fewer in eight out of 
the ten taluks, the percentage of diminution amounting to 57 per 
cent, in the Man taluk. 

Now, it is well known that in ordinary years the diminution 
among the very young and the very old is very much more than 
among those of intermediate ages; and in a year of famine, sudi 
diminution would be even much more marked than in ordinary years. 
The registration during 1877, the records of which are now complete, 
fully bears this out. 

In 1872 it was computed that the death-rate amounted to 3*557 
per cent, of the whole population of the Presidency of Bombay, 
whereas in 1877 it amounted to 3*876 per cent., and in the nine 
affected districts to 5*447 per cent, of the population of those districts, 
indicating large mortality ; but, even assuming a death-rate based 
upon the loss of very young children, which is the most unfavourable 
view of the case, the census of 1878 most distinctly indicates very 
large migration from Madha and Badami, a fact borne out by the 
reports of the District Officers, considerable migration from Man, 
Khatau, Bagalkot and Athni and some migration into Kod. 

It is impossible to state precisely what proportion of the losd 
exhibited by the census of 1878 is due to excess deaths from 1872 to 
1876, to excess deaths during 1877, and to migration out of the 
distressed districts, but an examination of the calculations and specu- 
lations given in the appendix to this note will tend to throw some 
light, at any rate, upon the subject. 


The death-rate for the whole Presidency was in 1877=38*76 per 
1,000 of population. 

The death-rate of each class was during the same year — 

Infants under 1 , . . 149-43 per 1,000 

Children from 1 to 12 *. . 26*76 „ „ 

Adults „ 12 to 60 . . 26C4 „ „ 

Old people above 60 . . . 12672 „ „ 


Taking the ratio of increafie as 1 per cent, per annum, the popula- 
tion at the beginning of 1878 ought to have been 6*15 per cent, greater 
than shown by the census of 1872. 

One Table (F) shows the loss per 1,000 of each class in each taluk, 
and the question comes what proportion of this loss, if any, is due to 
migration. It may be reasonably supposed that whatever portion of 
the loss is due to death, in such portion the respective losses of each 
class would approximate to that shown above, and that the special 
conditions giving rise to increased mortality in 1877 would tend rather 
to raise than to lower the loss of in&nts and old people, as compared 
with the loss of children and adults. 

Another Table (G) is obtained by dividing the loss per 1,000 of 
each cla£s by the figures given above. Where the figures under the 
columns children and adults exceed the figures under the columns in- 
fants and old people, we must either suppose that the special conditions 
above refen*ed to caused increased mortality among children and adults 
as compared with infants and old people, or, what is more reasonable, 
that a portion of the loss was due to migration of children and adults, 
and the greater the difference between the figures the greater such mi- 
gration. Keferring to this table, it will be seen that the figures under 
children and adults exceed those under infants and old people in great- 
est proportion in the taluks of Bidimi and M4dha, indicating that a 
large portion of the loss of population of these two taluks was due to 
migration. Biddmi shows the highest loss rate for children and nearly 
the highest loss rate for old people, indicating a large mortality as well 
as much migration. More or less migration is also indicated /ram 
the following taluks : — Min, Khatau, Bigalkot, and Athni. No mi- 
gration is indicated from Sdngola ; here the loss is probably due to 
mortality, what proportion in 1877 and what in previous years it is 
impossible to say. The same remarks apply to Bon. On the other 
hand, the figures indicate migration into Kod ; hence the indications 
Large migration from Bdddmi and Mddha. 
Less migration from M^n, Khatau, BAgalkot, and Athni. 
No migration indicated from S^ngola and Eon. 
Migration into Kod. 

If the taluks are placed in order of their loss-rate, we have — 

Ist.— BddAmi 254-11, Mddha 245-15. 

2nd.— Athni 187-10, M4n 171-72, B4galkot 169-29, Khatau 

3rd.— Ron 127-64, Sampgaon 98-78, SAngola 92*66. 
4th.— Kod 41-58. 



As a speculation, as to the amount of migration from each taluk, 
we may proceed as follows : 

Assuming that the loss-rate of children and adults, in excess of that 
for infants and old people, represents migration, we find that in the 
six taluks named this amounted to 


12,091 individuals = loss per 1,000 of popular 

tion of the taluk 















These figures are obtained by taking the highest of the two figures 
under infants and old people, Le., the figure under infants in every 
taluk except Khatau, and deducting it from the figures under children 
and adults; the remainders multiplied by 28*75 and 25*34 respectively 
give loss per 1,000 of children and adults due to migration, and these, 
calculated on the numbers of each class, give the loss of individuals. 

But it is fair to suppose that the actual migration was higher than 
the numbers shown above for the following reasons : — 

1st. — The migration rate is calculated above on the presumption 
that the special causes prevailing in 1877 caused increased 
mortality of all classes alike. Now table G. shows that in 
every taluk except one (Khatau) and one (Mdn) where the 
losses are equal, the loss of old people was less than that of 
infants, from which it may be presumed, that of the two 
classes (infants and old people) likely to suffer most, the in- 
fants suffered in greater proportion than the old people. 
2nd. — Migration of children and adults would, in all probability, 
be accompanied by migration of infimts and old people, of 
which no notice has been taken in the calculation. 
We may attempt to eliminate the error from the first of these two 
causes by repeating the calculation just made, employing the mean of 
the figures in Table G. under infants and old people in place of the 
highest of the two figures ; modifying the calculation in this way, we 
get the following migration rates : — 


14,802 individuals = loss per 1,000 




99 99 


B^alkot . 


99 >l 


Khatau . 


» » 




9f 99 




f} W 


Sampgaon . 


>l 99 


The recorded death-rate during 1877 in the nine affected districts 












was 54'77 per 1,000, and the death-rate of each cIbjss in the same dis- 
tricts was — 

Infants under 1 . . . . 17316 per 1,000 

Children 1 to 12 . . . 42-91 „ 

Adults 12 to 50 . . . 85-85 ,, 

Old people over 50 . . . 176-16 „ 

Bepeating the last calculation, employing these figures instead of 
the figures for the whole Presidency, we get the following migration 

rates: — 

M&dha, loss per 1,000 .... 122*79 







It will be noticed that in two cases, Bdgalkot and Sampgaon, these 
estimated migration rates, if deducted from the total loss-rate, give 
figures below the recorded death-rate in the taluk. But the migration 
rates deducted from the loss-rates only give the excess loss which has 
taken place in each taluk during the six years ending January 1878, 
over and above that due to the loss by average mortality during the 
same period ; three causes may have been in operation to produce this 
excess loss. 

1st. — Migration of infants and old people accompanying migrating 
children and adults, of which, in the previous calculations, no 
notice has been taken. 

2nd. — Excess mortality during the five years ending January 1877. 

3rd. — Excess mortality during the year ending January 1878. 

What proportion of the excess loss is attributable to each of these 
heads it is not possible to say. 

The conclusions come to by the Bombay Govern- 
ment is that this new and partial census leaves the 
question of mortality from famine very much in the 
same doubtful state as before, but that, so far as the 
Governor in Council can judge, the following conclu- 
sions may be formed : — 

Ist. — That the new census taken in the taluks 
or tracts of country selected as the worst or most 
distressed by the famine does seem to show a dimi- 
nution of the population. 

c c 2 


2nd. — That this diminution is in a considerable 
degree apparent only, as arising from migration, 
and partly real, as arising from mortality. 

3rd. — That the mortality arose partly from 
sickness other than famine — sickness extending 
not only throughout the year 1877, that is, the 
year of fiEimme, but also throughout the two previous 
years 1876 and 1875, which were not years of 
famine — and partly also from famine. 

4th. — That the mortality arising from famine 
itself cannot be exactly estimated, but probably 
it was not considerable, or was rather comparatively 


The partial oensua in the famine districts of Madras was taken, 
on the 15th March, 1878, in one taluk out of each of the six severely 
stricken districts of Bellary, Kumool, Cuddapah, Nellore, Coimba- 
tore, and Chingleput, and in all the nine taluks which constitute the 
district of Salem ; a census was also taken in one taluk out of each 
of the districts of Kistna, Trichinopoly, and Tinnevellj, in parts of 
which some distress was felt, but in parts of which the crops were 
saved by irrigation, and in one taluk of Tanjore, throughout almost 
the whole of which the crops were saved by irrigation from the 
Cauvery river. The results of the census were as follows : — 

In the 

Population as per 
Censna of 



difference on 
original . 



Six tahikR of the six 
very distressed dis- 
tricts - - - 

Nine taluks of the Sa- 
lem district 

Three taluks of the three 
slightly distressed dis- 
tricts - - - 

One taluk of the Tan- 
jore district 






+ 81,872 
+ 21,250 

minus 13 
„ 21 

plus 6 


No review of these figures had been received from the Madras 
Grovernment early in July, when these pages left India; but Sir 
Michael Kennedy had furnished the Government of India with re- 
marks upon the results of the partial census. He considers that the 
dimiuution of the population must be due to the effect of migration, 
of increased mortality, of diminished births ; or to a combination of 
all these three causes. No figures, even approximate, are available to 
show the extent to which emigration has taken place from the famine 
districts. The number of emigrants by sea from the Madras Presi- 
dency to Burma, Ceylon, and elsewhere is shown by the returns from 
sea-ports to have been 287,482 during the 14 months of famine, as 
compared with 156,143, the average number for a corresponding 
period in ordinary times ; that is to say, the emigration by sea nearly 
doubled during the famine. But there is nothing to show how many 
of these emigrants came from the famine districts, or from the parti- 
cular taluks in which the recent census was taken. Again, there is 
no available information regarding the great exodus of population 
from the frimine districts to the neighbouring tracts in Malabar, Tan- 
jore, Ganjam, and parts of Tinnevelly and Kistna, where drought had 
comparatively little effect. The figures of the recent census show 
that the dimiuution among the males of ten years old and upwards 
has been considerably greater than among women of the same age. 
Sir Michael Kennedy points out that there was no reason why men 
should have died from famine more rapidly than women, while it is 
quite probable that men would migrate more readily than women. 
He considers that this excess diminution among men tends to show 
that the total number of persons migrating from the famine tracts 
must have been very large, and that a part at any rate of the decrease 
of population must be due to emigration. He shows that a part of 
the diminution must be due to the decrease in births ; for the returns 
(confessedly imperfect as yet) of births for the 15 famine taluks, in 
which the census has now been taken, give a decrease of 32,054 births 
as compared with the average of ordinary years. Further he shows 
that, according to the monthly returns of moi*tality, a great part of 
the loss of population was due to unusual epidemics of cholera, small- 
pox, and fever, which swept off in these 15 taluks 149,053 persons, 
compared with an average mortality of 32,909 from these diseases as 
returned during the years 1870-75. 

The table, given later on, regarding the results of the partial 
census in Madras, takes the normal increment of the population to be 
1^ per cent, per annum. And some of the subsidiary statements 
forwarded by the Government of Bombay assume the normal increase 
of the population to be one per cent, per annum. If it be assumed 


that any such increase really occurred during the years 1872-75, 
before the distress began, then the actual loss of population attributable 
to famine will be proportionately larger. Sir Michael Kennedy in 
his memorandum^ shows that the excess of registered births over 
registered deaths, according to the returns published by the Madras 
Qovemment, gave a normal increase of population at the rate of '2 
per cent, per annum in the 15 taluks during the period of 1872-76; 
and he considers that there is no sufficient ground for the a^umption 
that the population of the Madras Presidency increases at the rate of 
1-^ per cent, per annum. It appears to the Government of India that 
no absolute certainty has yet been attained regarding the normal 
increase of population in India. The Madras Census Beport of Decem- 
ber 1873 ^ows (pp. 11-13) that, according to four censuses taken 
from 1851 to 1871, the annual rate of increase ranged from 0*74 
per cent, during the earliest to 3*02 per cent, during the latest 
period. But the writer of the report (Dr. Cornish) rejects these 
deduced rates of increase, and holds that the figures merely prove 
the earlier censuses to have been imperfect. In the North-Westem 
Provinces a detailed census has been taken on scientific principles 
more often than in other parts of India. The report of the 1871 
census for the North- Western Provinces shows (page 2 of vol. L of 
the report) the annual increase of population to have been 0*52 per 
cent., as compared with an increase in Great Britain of 0*56 during 
the ten years 1851-1861. The Census Report of the Bombay Presi- 

^ Sir Michael Kennedy's oondusions have been formulated thus : — 

(1.) That looking to general considerations, to the records of births and 
deaths, and to the census results as to the number of existing houses, there 
has not been an increase of population since 1871 at the rate of 1^ per cent, 
per annum ; that, in all probalnlity, any increase that may have taken place 
does not exceed *2 per cent, per annum ; and that there may possibly have 
been a decrease of numbers. 

(2.) That a large portion of the apparent loss of population shown by 
the last censos is due to migration. What the number of absentee mi- 
grants actually was, it is not practicable to determine ; but that, on a con- 
sideration of the actual number of resident males and females over 10 years 
of age, found in the distriots, the number may fairly be assumed to be about 

(3.) That cholera, small-pox, and fever account for nearly f rds of the 
excess mortality during the period between the latter part of 1876 and the 
and of Februaiy 1878. 

(4.) That the loss of population, not thus accounted for, amounts to 
about 68,290, or to less than 2^ per cent. ; some, but not all, of which loss 
may be attributable to the distress that has prevailed 


dency of January, 1874 (pp. 72-74 and 236-247), shows the deduced 
rate of increase in the population to be 0*54 per cent, per annum. 
Probably, until the information on this subject is more complete, the 
normal increase of an Indian population might be taken at between 
0*5 and 0*6 per cent. At this rate the population would double itself 
within 130 years. As pointed out by the Bombay Government, parts 
of the country were afflicted by epidemic diBeases during 1875 and 
1876, and during those yeai% the supposed normal rate of increase 
may not have been maintained. But during the years 1872-1875, or 
four years, some increase of the population must, it may be believed, 
have occurred. And the apparent, as well as the actual loss of popula- 
tion, during these two sad years of £unine, must be proportionately 
increased above the figures shown or suggested in the foregoing 

There ib still much uncertainty as to the numbers who have 
migrated, and who may return to their homes. The figures for the 
several taluks, both in the Bombay and in the Madras Presidency, 
show remarkable differences between the percentages of apparent loss 
of population ; and it iB not possible to say over what proportion of 
the famine country the higher, the medium, or the lower percentages 
of decrease in the population extend. 

The statement alluded to will be found in the tables 

Upon the figures given in these tables the Madras 
correspondent of the Times wrote to that journal in May 
last, as follows : — 

The census operations were completed on the night of March 14, 
and were of a simple character, but, of course, involved a preliminary 
numbering of the houses and people, leaving the correction of the 
house schedules for the night of March 14. The results were sent 
down to Madras for tabulation, and this work has just been com- 
pleted by Mr. Kalyana Sondara Chettiar, a gentleman who acquired 
his experience of census tabulation in 1871, when the last Madras 
census was taken. On this occasion every village in a district was 
separately numbered, and the district tables show the particulars of 
population for every one of the 55,000 villages of the Presidency. 
In this way it was easy for the tabulator of the famine census to show 
the loss or gain of population in each village, and this practice was 
followed in the tables, which will hereafter take a prominent place in 
the history of the famine. I should only weary yon if I attempted 
to give particulars. The main facts brought out by this statistical 






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enquiiy are that the death registration, as all along contended by 
the Sanitary Commissioner, did not represent the real mortality of 
the famine. According to the estimated population at the end of 1 876, 
the losses in the famine year have been as follows : — Bellary, 21 per 
cent. ; Knmool, 27 per cent. ; Cuddapah, 26 per cent. ; NeUore, 21 
per cent. ; Coimbatore, 17 per cent. ; Chingleput, 10 per cent. The 
Salem district, as I have already said, was numbered throughout. Its 
estimated population in 1876 was 2,129,850. The actual population 
on March 14, 1878, waa 1,559,876 — that is, there were 569,956 souls 
in this one district, or nearly 27 per cent, of the people, unaccounted 
for. And I wish you to remember that in this Salem district the 
famine distress is not yet over, nor will it be for some months ; so 
that the half a million and odd of the two millions of population does 
not represent the whole of the fearful life- waste of the fleunine. 

But I have said that a trial census was also made in some dis- 
tricts in which there had been no actual famine, and the results are 
of the highest value in corroboration of the figures of the worst 
famine districts. For instance, in the following districts there was an 
increase over the estimated population, as follows : — Kistna, 5*1 per 
cent. ; Tanjore, 1*7 per cent. ; and in the subjoined districts there was 
a very slight decrease : — Trichinopoly, 2*9 per cent. ; Tinnevelly, 1 '^ 
per cent. But in all these four districts the population of 1878 was 
above that of 1871, though in two of them not quite equal to the 
'estimated' population. It has been assumed throughout that an 
Indian population grows normally at the rate of 1^ per cent, per 
annum, and this proportion is within the mark in ordinary times ; 
but we have now the most convincing testimony that the death-rate 
indications throughout the famine were right, and that no Govern- 
ment can in future afford to neglect the warnings afforded by such 
testimony. The Government of India must already be aware that 
any famine policy which allows one-fourth of the population to die. 
can hardly be put forth as a policy to be followed on future occasions. 
In all my letters on the famine during last year, you will remember 
that I never ceased to dwell upon the gravity of tjie crisis as regarded 
the vitality and energy of the people, and the census figures now 
tabulated show how completely my forebodings were justified by 
actual facts. We have probably lost not less than three millions out of 
the twenty millions of population severely affected by the fBunine, and 
if we add the mortality in Mysore and Bombay, the total losses of 
the population in South India will not be far short of six millions. 

These results are obtained by appljdng to the 
districts respectively the experience obtained from an 


examination of one taluk, it being held that the whole 
numbering of the people in Salem justified this course. 
These conclusions, however, are considered doubtful, 
and the subject is still (July 1878) being discussed 
between the Grovemment of India and the Madras 

As matters stand when these pages are sent to 
press, the evidence available is not sufficient to justify 
an estimate of the famine mortality of 1876-78 being 







From the Secretary to the Government of India to the Hon. Sir 
Richard Temple, Bart., K.C.S.I., Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal 
(on a special mission). 

Calcutta, January 16, 1877. 

His Excellency the Governor-General in Council having been 
pleased to depute you on a special mission for the purpose of inspecting 
the districts suffering from scarcity in the Presidencies of Madras and 
Bombay, and conferring personally with the Governments of those 
Presidencies regarding the measures which are being carried out, and 
which will have to be carried out, for the relief of distress, I am 
directed to communicate to you the following observations, indicating 
the general views of the Government of India on some of the more 
important questions with which you will have to deal. 

2. I am to observe in the first place, that while it is the desire of 
the Grovemment of India that every effort should be made, so far as 
the resources of the State admit, for the prevention of deaths fr^m 
famine, it is essential in the present state of the finances that the 
most severe economy should be practised. The distress is so wide- 
spread, extending over 21 districts in the two Presidencies, and more 
or less affecting a population of 27,000,000, and threatens to be pro- 
tracted for so many months, that the utmost care is necessary to 
restrict the expenditure to the absolute requirements of the case. 
Even, however, if financial considerations were less overpoweringly 
strong, it would still be true that a Government has no better right 
in times of scarcity than in other times to attempt the task of pre- 
venting aU suffering, and of giving general relief to the poorer classes 
of the community. False and mischievous ideas on this subject have 


become so prevalent, that the Grovermnent runs some risk of being 
charged with inhumanity when it declares that these are the principles 
by which it intends to be guided. The Governor-General in Council 
will not be deterred by such considerations as these from a course of 
action which he knows to be right. Everyone admits the evils of 
indiscriminate private charity, but the indiscriminate charity of a 
Grovemment is far worse. The Grovemment of India is resolved to 
spare no efforts which may be necessary and practicable, with reference 
to the means at its disposal, to save the population of the distressed 
districts from starvation, or from an extremity of suffering dangerous 
to life ; but it will not sanction a course of action which must tend to 
demoralise the people themselves, who are passing through a time of 
temporary trial, and inevitably lead to the imposition of heavy and per- 
manent burdens on the industry of the countiy. Even for an object 
of such paramount importance as the preservation of life, it is obvious 
that there are limits which are imposed upon us by the fisusts with 
which we have to deal. K the estimates of the local Governments 
are to be accepted, the relief of the existing scarcity in the Madras 
and Bombay Presidencies, including loss of revenue, will not cost less 
than six and a half millions sterling. Considering that the revenues 
are barely sufficient to meet the ordinary expenditure of the Empire, 
and that heavy additional taxation is both financially and politically 
impracticable, we must plainly admit that the task of saving life, 
irrespective of the cost, is one which it is beyond our power to under- 
take. The simple fact is this, that the recurrence of a few Amines, 
such as that from which the countiy is now suffering, or such as that 
which occurred three years ago in Behar, would, if measures of relief 
were carried on upon that principle, go fe^r to render the future 
government of India impossible. The embarrassment of debt, and the 
weight of taxation, consequent on the expenditure thereby involved, 
would soon become more fatal to the country than famine itself. 
Happily, however, the Government are not placed in any such dilemma. 
They believe that from the histoiy of past famines, rules of action 
may be learnt which will enable them in the future to provide efficient 
assistance for the suffering people without incurring disastrous 

3. One of the first points which should engage your attention is 
the extent to which relief is given, and the principles on which it is 
afforded.^ The numbers on the relief works are so great, that the 

' Madias — 

On relief works 1,126,117 

Fed gratuitously 119,363 

Bombay— 1,244,480 

On relief works 287,000 



Govenmient of India see reason to apprehend that many persons 
must be employed to whom snch relief is not absolutely essential, and 
who without it would have been able to maintain themselves, at all 
events for some time to come. The Governor Greneral in Council does 
not for a moment doubt the reality of the calamity that has fallen 
upon the country, a calamity which unhappily threatens to become 
ere long still more disastrous. But it is necessary to remember that 
the mere collection of enormous numbers of people on relief works 
in seasons of scarcity is in itself no sufficient proof of serious actual 
Buffering. K relief works are carried on upon wrong principles ; if 
labour is not strictly exacted from all who are physically able to work ; 
if proper supervision is wanting, and people find that they can obtain, 
almost for the asking, and in return for next to no work at all, wages 
in money or in grain, there is hardly any limit to the numbers who 
even in prosperous times may be attracted to them. * When,' as Sir 
George Campbell has observed, ' a lax system is established, and every- 
one down to the merest child gets paid for the merest pretence of work, 
with probably a good many abuses besides, the thing becomes too 
attractive, the whole country tends to come on the works, the numbers 
threaten to be absolutely overwhelming. The people, too, become 
demoralised; works where real work is exacted are deserted, and 
many evils follow.' A good illustration of this may be found in the 
official narrative of the scarcity of 1873-74 in the North- Western 
Provinces. ' In a season of considerable pressure, but not of absolute 
famine, the relief works in Gorakhpur and Basti were for some weeks 
daily thronged by more than 200,000 men, women, and children, who 
found an attraction in the light work, in the liberty of going at night 
to their houses after attending a sort of vast pic-nic during the day, 
and in the wages earned at a time when ordinarily they had no em- 
ployment in the fields, and had to live on their harvest savings. But 
when the wages were cut down to a mere subsistenoe allowance, when 
a full day's laboiu* was insisted on, and when the liberty of living at 
their homes was threatened, these immense crowds melted away as 
rapidly as they had collected, and it was found that there was hardly 
anyone who really stood in need of relief.' The Governor-General in 
Council does not assert that a similar condition of things now exists 
in any of the districts of Madras or Bombay, but the matter is one 
which requires the most careful observation. 

4. The general principles on which operations for the relief of 
famine in India should be conducted, have been established beyond 
question by past experience. When, as may easily happen at the 
commencement of a period of distress, it is a matter of doubt whether 
serious scarcity is actually threatening a tract of country, it may be 


desirable, in the first instance, to open, as a tentative measure, small 
and well-supervised local works. The Government may thus avoid 
the risk of finding itself committed to serious expenditure on lai^ 
public works which there was no immediate necessity for undertaking. 
It was for reasons of this kind that the Government of India, at the 
commencement of the present scarcity, and while still in doubt regard- 
ing the extent to which relief operations might ultimately become 
necessary, thought it right, both in the Madras and Bombay Presi- 
dencies, to encourage, in the first instance, the organisation of works 
of a local character in preference to those of greater magnitude. But 
when it becomes no longer a matter of doubt that serious scarcity is 
impending, and that relief will have to be provided upon an extensive 
scale, the great difficulty of insuring adequate supervision for numerous ' 
scattered works renders it necessary to resort to large works on which 
large gangs of labourers can be employed, and on which adequate 
labour tests can be exacted. As soon, therefore, as it is clear that the 
Crovemment will have to undertake serious measiu'es for the relief of 
scarcity, no time should be lost in giving to the people, to the greatest 
extent practicable, the means of employment on large public works. 
Such works supply the means of subsistence to the able-bodied poor ; 
they prevent, instead of merely relieving, distress. 

5. In choosing such works it is obviously of great importance that 
those selected shall be of a permanently useful and remunerative 
character ; for it is in the last degree unsatisfactory that when ths 
necessity for employing great multitudes of people is forced upon the 
Government, their labour, which might have been devoted to works 
which would have conferred lasting benefit on the country, should be 
thrown away. The works should also be such as are calculated to 
absorb, in comparison with their entire cost, a sufficient proportion of 
labour during the anticipated period of famine. They need not always 
be in the distressed districts, or near the homes of the people who 
require relief. When railways or other thoroughly good means of 
communication are available, it may sometimes be easier and wiser to 
carry the people to the works and to their food, than to carry the food 
to the people. Temporary migration from their homes has always, in 
times of scarcity, been the natural and one of the best remedies to 
which the people have had recourse, and the organisation of public 
works in placet where food in plentiful, and to which access is not 
difficult from the distressed districts, may in some cases be more use- 
ful than works at places where the supply of food is already insuffi- 
cient. No apprehension need be felt that the people will not return 
to their homes when the period of distress has passed away. It will 
be for you to consider how far these principles are being acted on, and 


if hecessaiy to recommend to the local Governments the discontinu- 
ance of any works, or system of works, which, in your opinion, can- 
not be usefully proceeded with. 

6. When, by undertaking large public works, employment has 
been provided for the able-bodied poor, it may still be necessary, even 
before the pressure of famine has become extreme, to afford means of 
support to persons who are physically unable to give a full amount of 
labour in return for the wages they receive. These must either be 
employed in poor-houses or on roads and other easy work, every effort 
being made to prevent relief being given to anyone who does not 
really require it. It has often been found a most useful test of actual 
distress to insist, when charitable relief is necessary, that it shall 
ordinarily be given in the shape of cooked food. 

7. It should be added that when distress becomes extreme, and a 
state of absolute famine has been reached, that large public works 
may become insufficient to afford relief to the numbers of people in 
need of it. At such a time the Government may be driven to set up 
relief works near the homes of the people on a scale inconsistent with 
careful supervision or searching tests. Such measures as may be 
practicable must then be adopted for reducing to a minimum the 
inevitable evils that will then arise. The Governor General in Council 
leaves it to you to communicate to the local Governments the results 
of your own experience in regard to this very difficult part of the 

8. A very satisfactoiy feature in the course taken by the Bombay 
Grovemment in dealing with the present famine is their adherence to 
the principle of non-interference with private trade, which up to the 
present time they have acted on with marked success. In Madras a 
different policy has been observed. At an early stage in the scarcity, 
the Crovemment of Madras contracted through a local firm for a sup- 
ply of 30,000 tons of grain, to be used as a reserve to meet deficiencies 
in the local markets. Applications for authority to make further 
similar purchases have since been received, but have not been sanc- 
tioned, the Government of India being of opinion that such purchases 
are seriously calculated to discomrabge the operations of private trade, 
and to increase, instead of diminishing, the difficulty of procuring the 
supplies which will be necessary to augment the deficient food supply 
of tiie Presidency. Enquiry has been made whether this objection 
would apply to the Government advertising for tenders for the supply 
and delivery of grain in the immediate neighbourhood of certain works 
on which gangs of labourers are employed at a distance from all local 
markets. The answer must of course be in the negative. There is 
no more objection to such purchases than there is to the Government 



making purcIiaseB through the commiflsariat for the troops. The 
objection is to the Cbvemment entering into transactions which may 
excite apprehensions on the part of traders, that the Government are 
about to take their place, and so to disarrange the bases on which 
they found their calculations of profit. This objection is especially 
applicable to purchases of a secret character. In such cases the fact 
that the Government are in the market is almost certain to become 
known, and thereupon doubts are raised as to the nature and extent 
of the transaction, and private trade is paralysed. In regard not 
only to this but all other matters connected with the management of 
famines, the general rule should be that the operations of the Crovem- 
ment, and the reasons on which those operations are based, shall 
receive full and complete explanation and publicity. 

9. One of your most important duties in connection with the pre- 
sent state of things in the Madras Presidency will be to ascertain how 
far private trade, if left perfectly unfettered, may be counted on to 
supply the wants of that Presidency. As at present informed, the 
Governor General in Council entertains a strong opinion that the 
supply of that Presidency from foreign sources, such as Burma, 
BengsJ, &c, should be left altogether to private trade, and that the 
intention of the Cbvemment so to act should be widely made known, 
together with full and frequent information regarding the prices of 
food grains and other articles of consumption in the distressed and 
other districts. It is possible, however, that in certain localities at a 
distance from the lines of railway and from large markets, it may be 
requisite for the Cbvemment to intervene by making purchases at the 
nearest local dep6t to which the trade will convey the grain. In such 
cases, where the local trade, from whatever cause, is not active, the 
direct intervention of the Cbvemment may probably tend rather to 
facilitate than to discourage the importation of grain, by affording 
confidence to the trade that importations will find a certain purchaser. 
Finally, it must not be overlooked that there is a great advantage 
in paying labourers on relief works in money, wherever and so long 
as this mode of relief is practicable. 

10. The Governor General in Council would have hoped that it 
was hardly necessary to impress upon local officers the importance of 
exercising no interference of any kind with the object of reducing the 
price of food ; but cases have come to his notice which show that a 
warning on this point may not be uncalled for. It is obvious that, 
especially in a time of scarcity, nothing could be more mischievous 
than such interference, and that high prices, by reducing consumption 
and encouraging the importation of fresh supplies of food, are not 
only liecessary but highly beneficial* 


11. AjQOthGr matter of importance is the question of transport of 
grain, both on the railways and to parts of the country with which 
the existing means of communication are insufficient, as well as of 
providing additional facilities for landing it at the ports. These 
matters, the €k)vemment of India have reason to believe, have not 
been at all overlooked by the local Governments, but it is probable 
that your experience will enable you to offer valuable suggestions on 
the subject. 

12. There is one other subject to which the (rovemor General in 
Coundl thinks it desirable to refer, not because it is one with which 
you will have at present in any way to deal, but because he wishes to 
place you generally in possession of the views which are held by the 
Crovemment of India on all the more serious questions connected with 
the treatment of Indian famines. 

You will observe that his Excellency in Council, in my letter to 
the Government of Bombay, No. 5 A., dated the 5th instant, has laid 
down the principle that if any great irrigation works or other works 
of local and provincial importance, involving heavy future responsi- 
bilities for their completion and maintenance, be undertaken, certain 
rules will be held applicable, which will hereafter be prescribed, in 
regard to the enforcement of provincial responsibility for meeting the 
charges for extraordinary public works. This is not a convenient 
time for entering into a full discussion of these questions, but his 
Excellency in Council desires to take the present opportunity of de- 
claring his opinion not only that the main portion of the charges 
incurred on public works which protect the people against famine, 
and which add greatly to their wealth, should be borne by the people 
protected and benefited, and not by the general taxpayer, but also that 
every province ought, so far as may be practicable, to be held respon- 
sible for meeting the cost of the famines from which it may suffer. 
The Gk>vemor General in Council believes that until these principles 
are enforced, the only real security for wise and economical manage- 
ment will be wanting. When local Cbvemments and local officers 
understand that the inevitable consequence of unnecessary expen* 
diture will be the imposition of heavy burdens upon their own 
people, and not upon those of other provinces, a powerful and most 
useful check upon extravagance will have been established. On this 
subject the opinions of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for India 
have been expressed in a passage which may properly be quoted 
here : * — 

> Despatch from Secretary of State to (Government of India, No. 59 
(Revenue), dated November 25, 1875. 

1) ])2 


^ There is a further point, though not one to fall within the scope of 
such an enquiry as that which you have directed to be made, which should, 
in my opinion, be carefully considered by your Excellency's Govern- 
ment before the questions that arise in connection with the occurrences 
of 1873-74 can be regarded as fairly met. I refer to the proper in- 
cidence of the charges that are necessarily incurred in providing for 
the requirements of the population of a district in a period of drought. 
However plaia may be the primary obligation on the State to do all 
that is requisite and possible towards preserving the lives of the people 
under such circumstances, it would be most unwise to overlook the 
great danger of tacitly accepting, if not the doctrine, at least the 
practice, of making the general revenues bear the whole burden of 
meeting all local difficulties or of relieving all local distress, and of 
supplying the needful funds by borrowing in a shape that establishes 
a permanent charge on the general revenues for all future time. In 
Bengal, where (as the Lieutenant Governor observes in reference to the 
objections of the Gk)vemment in relation to emigration) the beneficial 
interest of the Government in the land is limited by the permanent 
settlement, these considerations are of special and more pressing 

* The question which is thus raised, of how to make local resources 
aid in meeting local wants, is no doubt one of great difficulty and 
complexity, particularly in a country like India. But the diffi- 
culty of providing any satisfactoiy solution of it should not be allowed 
to obscure the perception of its vital importance to the future well* 
being of the country, as well as of the troubles to the Government 
and the demoralisation of the people which must necessarily result 
from postponing too long the introduction of some system under 
which shall be suitably recognised the undoubted responsibility which 
rests on the people themselves to provide for their own support and 
well-being. The duty of the State does not extend further than to 
see that the needful means are supplied for giving effect to this prin- 
ciple, and for distributing the local burdens arising from its practical 
application in the manner which shall be most equitable and least 
onerous to those who have to bear them.' 

The manner in which these principles shall be carried into 
practical effect is under the consideration of the Gk)vemment. It is 
sufficient at present to say that the Cbvemor General in Council is of 
opinion that they ought to be kept in view in connection with the 
present scarcity, and that a considerable portion, if not the whole, of 
the permanent char^ whiph relief operations now in progress may 


entail ought to be borne by the Presidencies in which the expenditure 
is being incurred. 

13. The above are the only observations that the Gk>vemment of 
India deem it at present necessary to place on record in connection 
with the onerous and delicate duty which you have undertaken : and 
they have been made, not so much with the view of advising you on a 
subject which you have probably studied more thoroughly than any 
other public officer in India, as for the purpose of furnishing you with 
a statement of the views of the Gk>vernment of India, to which you 
can refer in your communications with the local Governments. I 
am directed, in conclusion, to convey to you the cordial thanks of the 
Qovemor General in Council for the promptitude with which on this, 
as on other occasions, you have responded to the call made upon 



1. The summer rains of June and July have now failed, more or 
less, over many of the districts in Southern India, where the rainfall 
of 1876 was lamentably deficient. The severity of the situation is 
increased by the scantiness of the rainfall in western and northern 
India during the past six weeks. I desire to place on record my 
appreciation of the probable effect of these unanticipated circum- 
stances on the condition of the people and the prospects of the Govern* 
ment. In so doing, I will endeavour to indicate my general views aa 
to some of the measures required to prepare for a second year of famine 
if unhappily so terrible a calamity should overtake any large tract of 
Southern India. 

2. The time has not come for the Government of India to review 
the famine operations of the year 1876-77 for the famine is still 
almost at its worst. But a short notice of 1/iie failure of last year's 
harvest, of the misfortunes thereby caused, and of the relief operations 
undertaken, is necessary to a proper imdei'standing of the extreme 
gravity of the present situation. 

3. The summer rains (south-west monsoon) of 1 876 were extremely 
scanty over tracts belonging to the Presidencies of Madras and Bombay, 
to the State of Hyderabad, and to the Province of Mysore. Over 
these tracts, which, oontain a population of about twenty-six millions. 


the summer rains yield the main rainfall of the year ; they fill the 
irrigation tanks, and on them depends the safety of the main food 
crops. In the above-mentioned districts, therefore, the chief food 
crops of 1876 failed by reason of the shortness of the summer rains. 
But in the rest of the Madras country the main rainfall comes with 
the October rains (north-east monsoon) ; these rains were also Tery 
deficient, and so the irrigation tanks of the Madras districts remained 
dry, and the chief food crops failed. The fate of the Madras crops was 
thus partially in doubt until the middle of November. 

4. The failure of the crops of a single year might not have caused 
a famine, if it had been confined to only one province, or to a few 
districts ; for inter-communication, by railway and by road, is easy 
and cheap all over Southern India, and the surplus of one province 
would have supplied the deficiency of another. But last year the area 
of failure was so vast that famine prices were inevitable ; and by the 
month of December 1876, food grains in the markets of Southern India 
were three times as dear as in ordinary years. The calamity pressed 
with special weight on some of the stricken districts (notably Bellary, 
Sholapur, pai*ts of the Camatic, and of Mysore), because the crops of 
one, or even two, preceding years had been short. In such districts 
food stocks were lower than usual, and the people had less money to 
buy food brought from a distance. In Bengal, Burma, Central and 
Northern India, the crops were happily good ; food stocks were large ; 
and there was plenty of grain to supply the stricken districts, if it 
could be carried thither, and if the people could afford to pay for it. 

5. The policy of the Government of India, as declared after pre- 
vious famines, was to give all possible facilities for the transport of 
grain to distressed districts; to abstain from interference with the 
grain trade,* so long as that trade was active ; to give relief wages to 
the destitute who would labour on useful public works ; to relieve, 
gratuitously, under trustworthy supervision, the helpless poor, when 
the pressure of femiine became extreme; and to avert death from 
starvation by the employment of all means practically open to the 
resources of the State and the exertions of its officers ; but to discharge 
this duty at the lowest cost compatible with the preservation of human 
life from wholesale destruction. In the autumn of 1876, no general 
instructions were issued by the Crovemment of India for the manage- 
ment of serious and widespread famine ; nor until November was it 
certain, from the reports received by the Supreme Gk)vemment, that 
positive famine was impending in the Madras districts. 

6. From the month of September 1876 a large importation of 
grain from Northern India and Bengal into the distressed tracts 
began ; and this traffic rapidly increased till, in the month of Decern- 


ber, grain was landed by sea at Madras ; and was also consigned by 
railway, fix>m the west, through Kaichore (the westernmost limit of 
the Madras Bailway), in much larger quantities than the railways 
could distribute, to the districts of the Madras Presidency, and of the 
Mysore province. From December up to the present time of writing 
private traders have kept consigning, month by month, into the 
interior of the famine districts, more grain than the railways from 
Madras, Beypore, Negapatam, and Kaichore have been able to carry. 
This grain has come from Bengal, Burma, the Punjab, the North- 
Western Provinces, Central India, and Scinde. Qovemment has done 
much to facilitate the traffic ; and on one occasion only have Gk>vem- 
ment operations interfered with private trade, namely, when 30,000 
tons of grain were bought by the Madras Government at the begin- 
ning of the famine, and were carried into the interior of the country. 
To this extent the railway and cart power of the country was tem- 
porarily occupied by Government to the exclusion of private trade. 
These proceedings of the Madras Gk)vemment were disapproved by 
the Cbvemment of India. Prices have been very dear, but from 
nowhere, until July 23, have we received reports that food cannot be 
had in the bazaars by those who can afford to pay for it. In some of 
the worst districts the imported food has sufficed for the needs of about 
one-third of the total population. The remaining two-thirds in such 
districts, and a much larger proportion in the less severely afflicted 
tracts, have subsisted on old stocks and on the peld of the petty crops 
that have been harvested even during this year of famine. The im- 
portation of grain by railway into the interior has not yet exceeded 
an average of about 

2,200 tons a day into the interior of Madras and Mysore ; 
1,000 „ n >» the Bombay Presidency. 

These figures do not include the large quantities of grain distributed 
into the interior by road or canal, from the port of Madras, and from 
the lesser ports on the Coromandel, Malabar, and Southern Mahititta 
coasts. There are in Central and Northern India and in Bengal large 
stocks of food, ready to go forward to the famine districts as soon as 
the railways can carry them. 

7. At the outset of the famine operations there was general failure 
to employ the destitute poor on properly managed and useful public 
works. During November and December hundreds of thousands of 
people sought and obtained relief wages on works which were not of 
the highest utility, and on which there was no adequate professional 
supervision. For this result I fear that the orders of the Govern- 
ment of India, enjoining the employment of the people on petty works 


near their homes, were in some degree responsible. In the Govern- 
ment despatch, conveying instructions for Sir Kichard Temple's 
mission to the famine country, it was mentioned that small and well- 
supervised local relief works might properly be opened at the begin- 
ning of a period of distress, so long as there was doubt regarding the 
extent of scarcity ; but that, when measures of relief on a large scale 
became clearly necessary, great public works of a permanently useful 
type should be opened for the employment of relief labourers. The 
experience of the present famine — ^the friction, distress, and loss 
caused by the transfer of labourers from small to large works during 
February in the Bombay Presidency — and the difficulty of moving to 
large useful works any considerable proportion of the relief labourers 
in Madras has since convinced me of the impolicy of opening petty 
local relief works during the early stages of a scarcity. The orders 
directing the opening of small local works were modified in December, 
and it was subsequently laid down that relief labourers should be 
employed to the utmost extent possible on large useful works, under 
the direction of competent engineers. Meanwhile, before those orders 
had reached the local officers, 

1,050,000 persons in the Madras districts, 
266,000 „ „ Bombay distxicte, 

were, n the beginning of January, receiving relief wages for labour 
that was generally inadequate on works that were often of little 

8. During the month of January the manner of employing relief 
labourers changed greatly for the better in the Bombay districts^ 
where the local Government utilised to the full its staff of en^eers, 
and possessed a number of excellent irrigation schemes and other pro- 
jects. During the same month Sir Eichard Temple was deputed by 
the Government of India to visit the famine districts and to confer 
with the local Governments and their officers as to the best means of 
enforcing economy and system in relief operations. The admirable 
services rendered by Sir Bichard Temple have already been acknow- 
ledged by the Government of India. It was found that vast numbers 
were in receipt of relief who, for a time at any rate, could support 
themselves. The relief wage rate was lowered, the number of petty 
relief works was reduced, and the supervision of relief labour was 
increased. In consequence of these measures the numbers of people 
on the relief works were at the end of April 

In Madras districts . ,71 6,000 persons 

In Mysore „ ... 62,000 „ 

In Bombay, at the same time, the numbers had risen to 287,000. 
In Maditts 11 per cent, of these labourers were employed on useful 


vorks mider profesdotial supervisioiL In Bomlmy 90 per cent, were 
80 employed. In Mysore 47 per cent, were on naeful public works ; 
but in Mysore the numbers on relief works were, in a way that has 
not been eixplained, reduced as the pressure of the famine increased ; 
and large sums* are now being spent on infructuous alms, instead of 
being devoted to improving by relief laboiir the many irrigation works 
of the province. 

It is not supposed that the relief works managed by revenue 
oj£cers are absolutely useless, or are wholly unsupervised ; but I fear 
that much of the roadwork done under revenue officers can be of no 
lasting value, while its cost is from twice to twenty times the ordi- 
nary rates ; whereas, on the other hand, the irrigation and railway 
works executed under professional supervision will be of permanent 
good in improving the country and averting future famines, while 
some of these works (so far as imperfect information has reached the 
Government of India) are being executed at only from 20 to 50 per 
cent, above ordinary rates. At the present time of writing the pro* 
portion of relief labourers employed under professional supervision 
on large works in Madras has risen by the latest returns to about 
21 per cent, on the total number of workpeople. 

10. Gratuitous relief on a large scale began early in the present 
famine. By the end of December there were in receipt of gratuitous 


110,000 persons in the Madras districts 

3,000 „ „ Bombay „ 

30,000 „ „ Mysore „ 

These numbers were somewhat reduced in January and February, 
but since the end of February they have increased enormously, and 
have risen by the end of July to 

839,000 in the Madras districts 
160,000 n Bombay „ 
151,000 „ Mysore „ 

In Mysore the number of persons in receipt of gratuitous relief is 
more than three times higher than the number of the relief labourers ; 
and it appears that in this province relief works have not been pro-r 
perly managed. The persons on gratuitous relief in Madras and 
Bombay belong to three cat^ories, thus : — 

Children of Persons fed Persons 

labourers at relief rellercd at . 

on the re- houses and their homes 

lief works. relief through yll- 

camps. lage agencies. 
Madras (according to the latest detailed 

return for the beginning of July) . 149,000 207,000 218,000 
Bombay 93,000 66,000 


The Mysore returns do not distingnifih the several classes of 
charitable relief. So long as relief wages are kept at subsistence 
rates, the small allowance of 3 pies (f of a penny) per diem must be 
continued to the infant children of relief labourers. The inmates of 
relief camps, and the daily recipients of food at relief houses are 
ordinarily fit subjects for charity, provided that able-bodied people are 
drafted to relief works as soon as they are strong enough to labour. 
Belief through village agencies may become unavoidable where &mine 
presses severely ; but its administration must be carefully supervised 
in order that the needy may be really relieved, and that there may be 
as little fraud as possible. In Bombay, the numbers so relieved in 
each district vary according to the pressure of distress and the num- 
bers on the relief works. But the figures for Madras lead to a belief 
that different systems are pursued in different districts : for instance, 
in Kiimool, where severe distress afflicted the whole district, only 
5,519 persons were receiving village relief at the be^;inning of July ; 
whereas in Salem, a part only of which district was severely distressed, 
88,020 persons were on village relief. 

11. In regard to the main object of relief operations, viz., the 
saving of human life, much, but not complete, success has been 
attained. In some tracts relief operations began too late ; at centres 
of population like Madras and Bangalore, and on some of the roads 
leading to such centres, starvation deaths have occurred. The death- 
rate from cholera, dysentery, and such-like diseases has greatly in- 
creased over large areas. But, on the whole, the worst evils of famine 
have, so fieur, been successfully averted over the vast tracts visited by 
failure of crops. According to the standard of mortality during the 
Orissa famine, from three to five millions of people (instead of only 
half a million) must have died of £ajnine in Southern India during the 
year 1877, if the guaranteed railways had not existed, and if Qovem- 
ment had incurred no outlay on relief operations. Nothing of this 
sort has occurred, and on this result the Gk>vemments and the local 
officers, who have exerted themselves admirably, deserve the acknow- 
ledgments of the Gk>vemment of India. I fear, however, it may here- 
after be found that over large tracts relief operations were, for con- 
siderable periods, conducted without sufficient system, and without 
due regard to economy. 

12. Regarding what is past, I have been obliged to say this much, 
because it is only after a consideration of the past that we can frame 
improved plans for the future. During the spring and early summer 
of 1877, it was hoped that the season might be favourable, that spring 
showers might bring forward some small extent of early food crop in 
June, that bountiful summer rains (south-west monsoon) would enable 


the people to secure a large food hanrest daring August and September, 
and that favourable October rains (north-east monsoon) would fill the 
irrigation tanks, and restore plenty to the districts of the Madras 
Presidency. The October rains are not yet due ; but our spring and 
summer hopes have been disappointed. Had they been fulfilled, there 
would have been no present need for special aid from the Government 
of India ; some millions sterling would have been spent, there would 
have been some waste, but in the main the great object of all this ex. 
penditure would have been obtained, the chfficulty would have been 
over, and the Government of India would, at the proper time, have 
placed on record for future guidance the lesson taught by the famine 
of 1877. 

1 3. But, so far as the season has gone, our hopes have not been 
fulfilled ; the spring showers came not ; the summer rains have, untQ 
the last week of July, been very scanty and irr^ular ; the main food 
crops of part of the black soil country in the Deccan are still in great 
jeopardy ; it is feared that the unirrigated food crops of Madras and 
Mysore must be lost unless the good rain of the past week continues 
dunng August. The local officers report that already an unascertained 
but large proportion of these crops is dried up ; the irrigation tanks 
of the Mysore country are still diy ; and no fresh food crops can be 
reaped on any large scale in Southern India before December next. 
If there are favourable rains in August and September, and if the 
October rainfall (north-east monsoon) is full, then plenty may, perhaps, 
be restored by Januaiy 1878, thou^ the people will feel the effects of 
the famine for some years to come. But even under the most favoui*- 
able circumstances, the pressure of famine in many districts of Madras 
and Mysore cannot abate greatly before January 1878; at the best, 
the tension in Bombay may lessen in September, and may cease al- 
together in December. But unless the rainfall of August and Sep- 
tember is unusually heavy, there must be another year of famine in 
parts of Bombay, of the Deccan, and over a great part of Mysore ; for 
in none * of these tracts can a heavy downpour be expected in October. 

' The rainfall statistics for parts of Southern India are not very complete. 

So far as they go, the meteorological returns give — 

Average rainfall in inches daring the 
months of 

r ' 
June to 

Octoter to 

The whole 












Secunderabad .... 




Bellary ..... 








Mean of eight districts in Mysore 




4! 2 APPEimix B. 

A great pari of Bellary and Xnmool also, where the October nins 
are scanty, mnst Bofifer another famine if the stimmer rains are not 
plentifnl daring Angost and September ; while, if the October rains, 
the main rainfall of the Madras littoral, should be scanty, there most 
be another year of flEunine over a great part of the Madras Presi- 

14. Thns, the present situation in Southern India is that, at the 
end of a season of famine, one of the great food crops of the present 
season is ever3rwhere in jeopardy, and in some parts is abnost irre- 
trievably lost. Prices of food over the flEimine country are higher than 
ever — four or five times the ordinary rate. 2,500,000 people are being 
directly supported by State charity, of whom barely 450,000 are per- 
forming work that will have useful results. The present pressure of 
famine, and the present rate of expenditure (considerably above half a 
million sterling per month) cannot, at the best, be greatly lessened before 
December next ; whereas, if the season turns out un£Eivourably in any 
part of the famine country, that tract, with its stocks already depleted, 
must suffer from a second year of famine more severe and more diffi- 
cult than the year through which it is now passing. 

15. The position in Southern India, grievous as it is, becomes 
much aggravated by the fact that the summer rains have hitherto 
been extremely scanty in the North- Western Provinces and the 
Punjab. Vast areas of these provinces are protected by irrigation ; 
the surplus food in stock from the bounteous harvests of the last few 

Ayenge rainfall in inches daring the 
months of 


October to 

The whole 




Madms City 




Salem . • . . 




Goimbatore . 




Negapatam . 





. . 12i 







It seems, therefore, that in the Deccan, and in the Ceded districts of 
Madras, the summer rainfall (south-west monsoon) is the mainstay of the 
crops ; that in Mysore the heavy rain which fills the tanks and gatarates the 
soil comes with the summer monsoon, but that the October (north-east) mon- 
soon also gives a considerable rainfall, especially in the south of the province ; 
and that in the districts of the Madras littoral the October monsoon yields 
the main rainfall of the year. 

Though the north-east monsoon may be merely the rebound of the rain 
clouds which travel up the Bay of Ben^ with the south-west winds, still we 
need not fear that scanty summer rains in Madras must necessarily be followed 
by equally scanty October rains. For the cloud currents which have this year 
shed plentiful summer rains over Burma and Bengal may return with the 
north-east winds to water the Madras littoral. 


years is said, in the Punjab at any rate, to be veiy great ; ihe autumn 
crop in these provinces has not yet been lost ; and the seed time of 
the main food crop is yet to come. There is no present ground for 
fearing actual famine in Northern India, although I fear there may 
be serious scarcity and suffering in some districts ; but the surplus 
food available for export thence to the famine country will be greatly 
reduced. In Bengal, Burma, and Central India there is, according 
to present prospects, no reason to anticipate that the winter crops 
will not be full ones. But the main crops of Bengal and Burma 
can hardly be estimated before October, at earliest. 

16. The prospect in Southern India, more especially in Madras 
and Mysore, is, therefore, as serious as it could possibly be. If a 
second famine has to be encountered over this large portion of the 
Empire, the duty of saving the lives of the people, and of utilising to 
the utmost the vast expenditure which must be incurred, will impose 
on both the Supreme and local Crovemments as arduous and gigantic 
a task as any Government could be called upon to undertake. Before 
entering on this task, it may be well to state shortly what are, in my 
opinion, the main principles which Gk)vemment should follow on an 
occasion of this kind. Many of these principles were laid down by 
the Government of India in its instructions to Sir Bichard Temple, 
but I think it desirable to repeat them. 

17. In the first place, the Government of India, with the approval 
of Her Majesty's €k)vemment, and of the people of India and England, 
are resolved to avert death from starvation by the employment of all 
means practically open to the resources of the State, and to the ex* 
ertions of its officers. Thus far, there can be no room for doubt or 
difference of opinion. 

18. When harvests fail in an Indian province, considerable old 
stocks of food are left in the hands of the landholding and mercantile 
cla£ses, but these stocks are often held back from sale. Markets have 
therefore to be supplied with grain imported from a distance. I con- 
sider that, except under most peculiar and exceptional circumstances, 
the function of supplying the demand for imported grain can be best 
and, indeed, alone discharged by private trade, and that private trade 
should be left to do its work in this respect with as little interference 
from Government as practicable. The Government and its officers 
should, however, give all possible information, and should give where 
necessary additional facilities to private trade. Early and correct in- 
formation as to prices and means of carriage should be published. 
The carrying power of railways and canals leading into i^e &mine 
tracts should be reinforced ; tolls and other restraints on free inter- 
communication should be removed ; roads into the interior should be 


improved and kept in order ; rates of railway or other carriage might 
be reduced ; and, in cases of extreme necessity, temporary railways or 
tramways might be laid down from main railway lines into popnlons 
tracts, whereto means of communication failed or were insufficient. These 
will, indeed, be the most useful of all works if we have to meet another 
year of famine. Grain required by Government for alms to the help- 
less poor, or for labourers on relief works, or for any tract where sup- 
plies were deficient, should be obtained through the trade at or near 
the local markets, and should not be imported from a distance by 
Government itself. Experience has shown that Government opera« 
tions in the grain market disoi^ganise and paralyse private trade to an 
extent out of all proportion to the operations themselves. Moreover, 
where the carrying power of a country by rail, canal, or cart, is 
limited and is fully utilised. Government grain importations must 
necessarily displace a corresponding quantity of privately imported 
grain. My view, therefore, is that under no circumstances which are 
likely to occur ought the Government itself to engage in the business 
of importing grain. Free and abundant private trade cannot co-exist 
with Grovemment importation. Abscdute non-interference with the 
operations a£ private commercial enterprise must be the foundation of 
our present famine policy. Trade towards the &mine country firom 
Bengal and Northern and Central India is at present active, and 
there is every reason to believe that the Indian sources of supply are 
BtUl considerable. But even if these should &il the interference of 
the Government would be a ruinous error. It could only have the 
effect of decreasing the total amount of food available, and thus aggra- 
vating the catastrophe. I am confident that more food, whether from 
abroad or elsewhere, will reach Madras if we leave private enterprise 
to itself than if we paralyse it by Government competition. These 
remarks refer to the famine we are now dealing with. I do not of 
course intend to assert that famines cannot occur in which Govern- 
ment interference for the importation of food may not be absolutely 
necessary. Indeed, the Orissa famine was one of those cases. 

19. Before scarcity of food deepens into famine, there is a large 
and increasing section of the population who are out of work and 
have no means of buying food at dear rates. It is the policy of 
Government to employ such people on relief works, and my view is 
that relief employment at a subsistence rate of wage should be pro- 
vided on large, fully supervised works, which will be of permanent 
benefit to the country. The advantage of lai^ works of this kind 
over petty local works is twofold. Firstly, the obligation to do a full 
da/s work at a low rate of wage and to go some distance to work 
keeps from seeking relief people who can support themselves otheiv 


wise ; and secondly, the money expended on such works bequeaths 
permanent benefits to the country. 

20. On this point the following passages firom Sir Bichord Tem- 
ple's excellent report of his recent mission to the distressed tracts of 
Southern India are very valuable. When discussing the lessons to be 
deduced from Indian famine experience, he writes : — 

' It seems to me that from these events we forcibly and positively 
learn : — 

'To determine beforehand, as soon as any forecast of the 
coming distress can be made, the large public works upon which 
relief labour can be employed and upon which task-work can be 
exacted or piece-work established under professional supervision. 

* To notify generally, and to intimate to all concerned, espe- 
cially to the civil officers, the particular public works to which 
the relief labourers in each distressed district are to be drafbed. 

< To organise an engineering staff in readiness for undertaking 
vigorously these particular public works when the time for active 
operation shall arrive, and to prepare for devoting to this purpose 
all the professional establishments which can be obtained. 

' To prohibit absolutely, in the beginning of the distress, the 
opening of petty works under civil officers, or non-professional 
establishments, among the villages close to the homes of the 

' To refuse relief to strong able-bodied persons of both sexes in 
any form, save employment on the large public works. 

* To allow petty village works to be opened only when severe 
and wide-spread distress has declared itself at a comparatively 
advanced stage in any district, or part of a district, and even 
then to reject all, save those who cannot reasonably be expected 
to proceed to the large public works — in short, to reserve these 
petty works for the weakly, the sickly, the advanced in life, and 
for those who have any just claim for indulgence. 

' To keep the wages on relief works at the lowest rate com- 
patible with the health of the labourers ; this being necessary, 
not only in the interests of economy, but also to prevent de- 
moralisation of the people.' 

I do not think it would be possible to define more clearly than is 
done in the foregoing extracts, those principles which seem to me the 
right ones for the organisation of famine relief works. 

21. At the beginning of a famine there are some, and before the 
end of a famine there will be many, people who, from physical in- 
firmity, or from social custom, or from some other reason, are unable 


to earn wages on relief works, and who have no means of buying 
food. For persons of this class the State must, when the sources of 
private benevolence are dry, provide gratuitous relief, if it undertakes 
to provide for them at all ; an undertaking which, if it assumes wide 
dimensions, must impose upon the State operations of peculiar diffi- 
culty and delicacy. For it is the inevitable tendency of all gratuitous 
relief afforded by the State, if it be not supervised and restricted 
with the most scrupulous exactitude, to intrude injuriously on the 
field of relief labour, and thus demoralise large masses of the popu- 
lation. Such relief may be given in the shape of grants-in-aid of 
private charity ; in the shape of cooked or uncooked food, distributed 
at relief centres, at camps, or poor-houses, where the recipients of 
relief are hoiised and cared for ; or (if complete means of supervision 
exist), in the shape of money alms distributed to paupers at their 
homes through village agencies. One or other, often more than one, 
of these forms of gratuitous relief must, sooner or later, be dispensed 
in every famine tract. At large centres of population relief camps 
are useful ; for the inmates are prevented from wandering about the 
streets, and starving for want of miscellaneous alms. On great roads 
and lines of traffic, out-door relief centres are more suitable. Where 
a good indigenous village agency exists, it is advisable to register and 
relieve, at an early stage of a famine, the helpless paupers in their 
villages ; so that they may be prevented from starving at home, or 
from wandering forth in quest of charity. But, in whatever shape 
gratuitous relief be given, the ordinary district organisation must be 
greatly strengthened to secure its due and honest administration. No 
other form of famine relief is more open to abuse and malversation. 
Every rupee spent in providiug effective, trustworthy supervision, is 
saved over and over again, not only in preventing wasteful and un- 
necessary expenditure, but in securing that the relief given reaches 
the classes and pei'sons for whom it is intended, without being turned 
aside into the pockets of people who can do without State aid. 

22. The principles and the policy described in the four preceding 
paragraphs should, in my judgment, guide the operations of Govern- 
ment, not ovly at the beginning of a famine, but throughout its 
continuance. Disregard of these principles must assuredly, and 
indefinitely, aggravate the serious financial difficulties in which even 
a well-conducted campaign against a great famine involves the 
Government. If we have departed from these principles in parts of 
the famine-stricken country, then we should now strain every nerve 
to return to them as speedily as possible. Famine relief expenditure 
must, I fear, continue on a veiy large scale for some months to come. 
And it may be that we are on the threshold of another, and much 


more terrible year of famine. It behoves us, therefore, to lose no 
time in reorganising and strengthening the forces with which Govern- 
ment hopes to contend against famine. 

23. The amomit of grain carried daily into Southern India will 
have to be greatly increased. The present estimate, founded on the 
figures of the local Governments is, that into the Madras, Mysore, 
and Hyderabad districts alone, from 4,500 to 5,090^ tons of food 
may have to be carried daily; whereas 2,500 tons a day was the 
greatest quantity carried during the past season. I believe this full 
task, if it be required, can be accomplished. During the Bengal 
£Eunine the railways, working from three directions, carried at times 
as much as 4,000 tons of food a day ; and the railways into Madras 
and Mysore work from four different ports, besides the fifth line from 
the Bombay direction. No time should be lost in framing, in pub- 
lishing to the trade generally, and in bringing into effect on the 
guaranteed railways, a scheme whereby 4,500 to 5,000 tons of food 
can, if consigned by the trade, be carried daily into the famine dis- 
tricts of Madras and Mysore. When the railway has brought the 
required supply of food into the country, the question will arise, 
whether the famine-stricken cattle can sufiice for the task of distri- 
buting by cart the large quantities required in the interior of the 
districts. And the problem will have to be faced and decided at 
once, whether it will be best to lay down rough tramways for carriage 
of grain, or to bring the destitute poor to places near the railway 
lines, or to promote their emigration into other provinces. 

24. Next, all the best engineering skill available in the many pro- 
vinces of India should, I think, be lent to the Madras Qovemment, so 
that a sufficient number of large public works may be opened in all 
parts of the Madras as well as of the Mysore famine country, at which 
the largest possible proportion of the two and half millions of people 
now supported by the State qiay be employed under proper supervision 
on works which will help to protect the country from future famines. 
The districts of Madras and Mysore are studded with irrigation 
tanks, and are traversed by rivers, many of which are already bridled 
and turned into irrigation channels. Much great work of this kind 
remains to be done. The projects and estimates for such works may 
not be everywhere ready in full detail ; but it would be better for the 
people and for the country that the Qovemment should accept a 
moderate proportion of fiedlures in such works than not to attempt 
them at sJl. It would be wiser to lay out one million sterling on 
irrigation channels and reservoirs, which will store water for future 

' This quantity would give subsistence to about ten millions of people. 


needs, or on other works of lasting utility, than to spend half a million 
on petty works, which cannot be adequately supervised, and are of 
no permanent usefulness. Of the famine roads which in 1874 were 
undertaken in Bengal, about one-half had to be left imbridged and un- 
finished. These have since fallen into a condition of utter uselessness 
owing to the inability of local funds to complete and maintain them. 
I believe that it would be highly desirable to sanction for Madras a 
special chief engineer for famine works, as was done for Bengal in 
1874. Nothing is more essential to successful administration in such 
a crisis as the present, than the concentration of authority in the hands 
of a single man of energy and judgment, who shall be responsible 
to the head of the local Government alone. I am satisfied tiiat the 
great success which has attended the operations for the rehef of the 
present famine in Bombay has been mainly due to the fi9u;t that this 
principle has been strictly acted on. The chief engineer, Major- 
Creneral Kennedy, has been virtually responsible to no one but the 
Gk>vemor himself, and I believe that both the late and present 
Governors of Bombay have thus been able to carry out their orders 
with a vigour, promptitude, and success which would otherwise have 
been impossible. Of course, however, this arrangement might have 
been as injurious as it has proved beneficial, had the officer on whom the 
result of it depended been deficient in experience, judgment, or energy. 

25. When the employment of relief labourers shall have been 
thus made over to professional agency, the civil officers will be able to 
give their time to organising and supervising gratuitous relief, and to 
saving the helpless poor from starvation. 

26. The two main objects to which the best endeavours, and all 

the available power of the Crovemment of India and the local 

Gk>vemment8 must now be directed, are, — ^firstly, the framing and 

working of a scheme whereby 4,500 to 5,000 tons of food may be 

carried daily into the famine country; and, secondly, the selection 

and commencement of large public works of lasting utility, on which 

all the able-bodied relief recipients of either sex and any age should 

at once be employed. If the rainy season, which has begun so badly, 

should happily end well, these special exertions on the part of the 

State, of the railways, and of public servants, may not be required 

beyond December next. If the season ends badly anywhere, then 

these exertions will have to be continued on behalf of such afflicted 

tracts until August 1878. In any case, the lives of millions, and the 

useful expenditure of large public funds, must depend, during the next 

five months, on the arrangements that may now be made. If matters 

are allowed to drift, there may be terrible loss of life ; and there must 

be a wasteful expenditure of vast sums of public money, which might, 


under proper arrangements, bequeath great and useful works to the 
district wherein it is incurred. 

27. The beneficial esSeet of money expended on well-considered and 
well-organised public works will be felt in the future. But for the 
immediate relief of the present distress, the creation and supervision 
of new means of transport are urgently needed. I have every reason 
to believe that our reserve of grain is amply sufficient to meet the in- 
creasing demand, and that, even if it runs short, we may reckon with 
confidence on the enterprise of private trade to supply the deficiency. 
But the arrangements which must now be made for distributing over 
large tracts of country, where no sufficient means of transport yet exist, 
that quantity of grain which their population requires, and the trade 
is able to supply, will be as difficult and delicate as they are necessary. 

28. I have not included the Bombay districts in the tracts where 
special joint effort by the Supreme and local Grovemments is at once 
required ; because prospects in Bombay are not so bad as in the south- 
eastern districts ; and because the management of relief works and 
relief operations in Bombay has, during the past season, been such 
as to warrant confidence that famine there, if it comes, will be more 
easily met, and that relief labourers will be employed on well-orga^ 
nised works of permanent usefulness. 

29. I am afraid that the situation in Mysore is, in proportion to 
its area and population, even more critical than in Madras. The 
Mysore demand for imported grain has, throughout the famine, been 
larger with reference to the distressed population than in the Madras 
Presidency. The fate of the crops now in the ground is more doubtful 
in parts of Mysore than anywhere else. The employment of the 
destitute poor on useful public works has, since April last, been quite 
inadequate to the occasion. At the present time the persons on gra^ 
tuitous relief are three times as many as the relief labourers on public 
works. In Bombay, the nimibers on gratuitous relief are now little 
more than half the total of relief labourers. In Madras the total 
nimiber on gratuitous relief is somewhat less than the total on works. 
Beports have been received from more than one Madras district that 
people in the last stage of distress fiock over from Mysore to British 
relief houses for help. It would seem that Mysore relief arrangements 
are at present neither efficient nor sufficient. In this province imme- 
diate steps must be taken for reorganising the relief administration. 

30. As my colleagues are aware, it is my iatention to visit Madras 
and Mysore immediately. Before starting on this journey, I have 
thought it desirable to place on record my reasons for undertaking it. 
These will be found in the foregoing general statement of the main 
facts of the present condition of the famine-stricken districts in Southern 

E B 2 


India. I cannot contemplate such a condition of things without the 
most serious anxiety, and the deepest sympathy with all those local 
authorities who, after prolonged and arduous exertion, are now con- 
fronted with new administrative difficulties. 

31. It is unnecessaiy, and indeed undesirable, to discuss in the 
present minute any of the particular measures which have been, or 
may have to be adopted for meeting those difficulties. The teachings 
of experience would be as barren as they are bitter, were it impossible 
to derive, from study not only of the phenomena of the late famine 
in Bengal, but also of the course of the present famine in Madras and 
Bombay, a clear apprehension of certain general principles of famine 
management. The soundness of these principles is, I think, estab- 
lished both by the beneficial results of their timely and intelligent 
application, and also by the disastrous consequences which have 
attended the disregard 6f them. I cannot doubt that they should 
everywhere guide our action. But it is obvious that the application 
of them must always be easier in some localities than in others. My 
object, therefore, in now proceeding to Madras is, not to urge upon 
the administrative authorities of that Presidency the adoption of any 
jsystem of operations devised d priori, without due reference to local 
peculiarities, but to endeavour, by frank, unprejudiced personal con- 
ference with his Grace the Governor, to ascertain how far it may be 
practically in my power to place unreservedly at his disposal, for the 
furtherance of measures approved by his judgment and experience, all 
those resources which are commanded only by the Government of India. 

32. Two or three such measures are, indeed, already foreshadowed 
by the Duke of Buckingham in an important and suggestive minute, 
which has only just reached me. In this minute his Grace has 
practically overruled the opinion of those who wanted to give extra- 
ordinary diet and comforts, costing several rupees a month per head, 
to all inmates of relief camps. He has also wisely decided that none 
who can work shall be relieved except on public works ; and he has 
indicated some large public works, mainly of irrigation, which will 
supply labour for aU applicants in six districts, and parts of two others. 

33. Should it be found possible to develope yet further the salutary 
principles on which these decisions are based, by bringing the whole 
of that portion of the relieved population capable of work under a 
well-organised engineering supervision, one of the great dangers with 
which the Madras Presidency is now threatened will have been suc- 
cessfully averted. But, even to carry out with complete efficiency the 
wise measures already announced by his Grace, the local Public Works 
Department will, I should think, require some addition to the strength 
of its staff, and some relaxation of departmental rules. The Governor 


of Madras has, no doubt, rightly preferred schemes for storing surplus 
water to projects for canying it away ; and the Madras engineers are, 
perhaps, the best hydraulic engineers in all India. It will be my 
earnest endeavour to afford the Goverament of Madras every en- 
couragement and assistance in my power, for the prompt and bold 
development of large local public works of every useful kind. In the 
circumstances we have now to deal with, it is not absolutely necessary 
that such works should be remunerative in the ordinary sense. Since 
relief labour must now be employed, and employed on an enormous 
scale, it is, in my opinion, a matter of primary importance that it 
should be employed on works of the greatest possible permanent 
utility, even though such works be wanting in the remunerative 
conditions requisite to justify our sanction of them in ordinary times. 

34. So long as we might reasonably hope that the worst difficulties 
and dangers of the Madras famine would by this time be passing over, 
I have purposely refrained from visiting that Presidency, lest my 
presence there should, however unintentionally, prove embarrassing, 
rather than helpful, to the efforts of the local Government. 

35. But in face of the facts recorded and reviewed in the preceding 
paragraphs of this minute, I can no longer question the urgency of 
my own duty, and that of all concerned, under the pressure of a 
natural calamity greater than any which, so far as I know, has in 
modem times afflicted India. It is now clear that the humane efforts 
of the Madras Government have proved insufficient to diminish the 
intensity, or reduce the area of this calamity. The distress, which 
appears to be increasing with frightful rapidity, must, even under the 
most skilful, the most economical, and the most energetic management, 
strain to the utmost the administrative abilities of the local Govern- 
ment and the financial resources of the Empire. Therefore I cannot 
doubt that the Governor of Madras is entitled to receive from the 
Viceroy the unreserved assistance of all the technical skill and special 
experience this Empire can furnish, for the relief of the people and the 
revenue by a vigorous prosecution of the wisest measures that can 
be devised. In short, we are now faii-ly engaged in a terrible conflict 
with nature ; our line of battle has been broken at Madras and Mv^ore, 
and it is, therefore, at these points we should now concentrate all our 
reserved force. 

36. Nothing could be further from my intention than to interfere 
unduly with the local authorities, and the devoted officers, who have so 
long and zealously been combating the growth of a gigantic cata- 
strophe. Although, up to the present moment, the result has not 
equalled the assiduity of their untiring efforts, yet the energy and 
devotion of the district officers throughout Madras, during the pro- 


tracted and increasing strain upon their physical and mental faculties, 
cannot, I think, he too highly or gratefully appreciated. It is not 
to inadequate energy or intelligence, but to inadequate numbers and 
inadequate executive powers, that I attribute the incompleteness of 
their success. 

37. My journey, therefore, to the famine-stricken districts of 
Southern India, and more especially my journey to Madrcus, is prompted 
by the hope that it may enable me to strengthen and augment the 
means on which his Grace the Governor of that Presidency is now 
dependent for the satisfactory solution of a problem as serious as any 
which has ever occupied the mind, or taxed the abilities, of an Indian 

38. I think that the highest expert talent procurable from any 
part of India should now, at once, be placed unreservedly at the dis- 
posal of the Duke of Buckingham. His Grace will be able to supple- 
ment and direct the special knowledge of experts by the large 
generalisations of a varied experience. Such a combination can 
scarcely fail to ensure ultimately to the Government of his Grace an 
administrative success copimensurate with the ma^itude of those 
difficulties which nothing short of the coolest judgment and most 
resolute firmness can now overcome. 

Simk, August 12, 1877. 




Fcmiine Rdief, 

No. 497. Proceedings of Government, dated September 24, 1877, 

No. 2,847. 

His Grace the Governor in Council is pleased to issue the following 
instructions for the guidance of all officers concerned in the adminis- 
tration of famine relief : — 

1. Under the successive orders of the Madras CrOvemment, rdief 
has been sanctioned to famine-stricken people— 

(1) In the form of wages for work done ; 

(2) Gratuitously in camps, relief houses, and villages, to those 

unable to labour or temporarily incapacitated for work. 


2. It has been determined that both relief by employment on 
works for the strong, and gratuitous relief to the infirm, shall be con- 

3. To enable employment on large public works to be more exten- 
sively and systematically carried on, the Government of India have 
agreed to lend a large additional force to the Public Works Department ; 
and to enable collectors to duly watch the distribution of gratuitous 
relief, the Government of India have placed at the disposal of this 
Government a large number of European officers to supervise relief 
operations in the several taluks of the distressed districts. 

4. In order that the wishes and instructions of his Grace the 
Governor in Council may be clearly understood, the conditions under 
which relief has been sanctioned, and is to be continued, are subjoined. 

5. Collectors and civil officers are responsible for sending to relief 
works or for providing gratuitous relief, under the orders now issued, 
to all who have not adequate means of supporting life. The Public 
Works Department officers are responsible for providing a sufficiency 
of work in every distressed district for the employment of the persons 
who may be sent to them by the civil officers, and shall employ thereon 
all those so sent. 

Helief Works. 

6. The intention of his Grace the Governor in Council is that all 
relief shall be eventually given through relief works, closed camps, and 
village relief. 

7. Belief works affording to indigent persons capable of some 
labour the opportunity of earning money with which to buy food con- 
stitute the backbone of the relief system. 

8. These works are of two classes — 

(a) Those under the supervision of the Public Works Depart- 
ment or other professional supervision p^ofeMionai Agency 
which may, for the sake- of brevity, be "Works, 
called professional agency works ; 

(6) Those not requiring, to any great extent, professional super- 
vision, and which may, for the sake of _ 

, ..' , n J . -V i_ Civil AgenqrWorkB. 

brevity, be called civil agency works. 
These works will be tinder the superintendence of the 
Public Works Department or of the Civil Department 
according to circumstances. 

9. Every district engineer will prepare a list of works in his 
district which may be made available as relief works. These list 
should show approximately — 

(a) The probable cost of each work ; 


(h) Kouglily the proportion of the total cost required for earth- 

(c) The number of persons who can be employed upon each, and 
for how long. 

10. These lists will be submitted to €k)vemment through the chief 
engineer or the chief engineer for irrigation. His Grace the Goygtdot 
in Council will sanction them provisionally either wholly or in part^ 
and the works thus provisionally sanctioned may be taken up, from 
time to time, as need for affording relief arises, except large works, 
the commencement of which will be decided by his Grace the Governor 
in Council. The opinion of the collector should decide which of the 
works in the list so sanctioned shall be first proceeded with. Estimates 
to cover such works as may be approved by Government in these lists 
should be prepared and submitted for final sanction as soon as possible, 
but the commencement of no such work shall be delayed, where ita 
commencement is necessaiy, for the reason that a plan and estimate 
have not been sanctioned. Lists of works which have been commenced, 
specifying the approximate number of persons who can be received 
thereon, will be furnished by the district engineer, from time to time, 
to the collector, who will send copies to every revenue, police, and 
fjEunine officer. 

11. The very widest publicity of the locality of relief works must 
PabUdty of nUet ^ given; the responsibility with regard to this 

^^^ point rests upon the collectors and their assistants. 

12. The distinction between budgeted works and famine relief 
works is abolished in the following districts : — 

Nellore. South Aroot. 

Cuddapah. Trichinopoly. 

Bellary. Madura. 

Kumool. Tinnevelly. 

Chingleput. Coimbatore. 

North Arcot. Salem. 

And all works whatever therein (Imperial, provincial, or local, ex- 
cepting only buildings) shall be considered fiunine relief works and 
shall be carried out under all the rules, tests, and restrictions applicable 
to famine relief works. Any relief works which may be necessaiy in 
any of the remaining districts will be carried out ajs special works 
under special arrangements. 

13. All establishments at present employed under civil officers in 
supervision of, or in accounting in respect of, relief works, should be 
transferred, with the charge of the several works, to the Department 
of Public Works as soon as the district engineer is in a position to 
take them over. 


14. All persons capable of labour, who are in fair health and con- 
dition, must be drafted to professional agency works, i to be dnfted 
and with them must also be drafted such members to proteoaicnai Agency 
of their families as are willing to accompany them. 

15. Weaker people, who are neyertheless capable of some work, 
should be employed upon civil agency works, but to be em- 
should, as they recover strength, be drafted to pro- ployed upon .ava 
fessional agency works, the object being to employ ^^^°^ 

the largest possible number of people to whom it may be necessary to 
afford relief upon works of this latter description. 

16. Work is to be exacted and musters taken for six days in every 
week; payment for the seventh day is, however, ^^ 
included, i.e., an increment to each working day's 

wage has been made in order to provide for the seventh day, in the 
following scale of wages. 

17. The rates of pay to persons who perform their allotted tasks 
shall be for each working day : — 

Upon Pro/em&nal Agency Works, 

n. a. p. 
For a man the value of 1 lb. of grain . . Pins 16 
For a woman „ „ ..,,010 

For a child of 7 and upwards | lb. of grain . „ 9 

Upon Civil Ag&rwy Works. 

For a man the value of 1 lb. of grain . .,,010 
For a woman „ „ ..,,009 

For a child of 7 and upwards ^ lb. of grain . „ 6 

18. By grain is meant grain of medium quality and of the descrip- 
tion in ordinary use at the time of payment among 

the labourers upon the works. The price to be 

taken at the retail price of the grain ruling at the cusba of the taluk 

on the previous week. 

19. When work is interrupted by rain to such an extent that the 
tasks ordered cannot be exacted, professional agency intemiptian from 
labourers should be paid the civil agency rate and '**^ 

civil agency labourers should be paid the civil agency rate less two 
pies all round. 

20. No work is to be taken from children under seven years of age, 
nor are such children to be allowed to remain among ^„^ . _^_ 

^ Children under Beren. 

the labourers while they are working. Such children, 

belonging to parents or natural guardians employed upon works, must 

be mustered at a convenient spot at some little distance from where 


the work is in progregs, and placed under the charge of a sufficient 
number of the women drafted to the works who will be employed as 
nurses. At large works, and where working camps are established, 
kitchens must be provided, and these children supplied with rations 
of cooked food not exceeding ^ a lb. of grain per diem. The nurses 
must receive their full ration of cooked food, i.e., 1 lb. of grain plus 
the money portion of the wage. On small works officers in charge 
must make suitable arrangements for effecting the same purpose. 

21. To prevent relief works becoming unduly attractive, three tests 

are necessary, viz., 1st, primd facie evidence that 
the individual really requires employment upon a 

relief work ; 2nd, distance of the work from the home of the labourer ; 

and, 3rd, tasks. 

22. The task to be exacted upon professional agency works is 76 

per cent, of what the individual would be able to 
perform if he worked to the full extent of his ability ; 
upon civil agency works 50 per cent, of what the individual would 
be able to perform if he worked to the full extent of his ability. 

23. In settling and exacting these tasks it will be necessary for the 
officers concerned to use great judgment, discretion, and firmness, so as 
to avoid oppression of the people upon the one hand or encouragement 
to idleness and laxity on the other. 

24. It may probably be expedient in many cases to take, as the 
unit for tasking, a gang composed of all the members of one family 
who are on the work, or a portion of the inhabitants of any one village ; 
and it is the wish of his Grace the Governor in Council that, as far 
as possible, consistently with economy and discipline on the works, 
members of the same family should not be separated in their employ- 
ment. But these points of detail, varying as they will with the size 
and nature of the work and other circimistances, must be left to the 
discretion of the executive officers acting under the general orders of 

25. The employment of contractors directly or indirectly is abso- 
lutely prohibited on relief works. 

26. Masonry work requiring skilled labour, such as culverts, 
tunnels, sluices, calingulahs of tanks, and similar works found essential 
to the completion of relief works may be performed by contract in the 
ordinary way. In selecting works to be placed on the list. Public 
Works officers will bear in mind that the beneficial effect of the work 
as a relief measure is the principal object ; therefore works of which 
a large proportion of the estimate is for masonry or compensation for 
land should generally be at once laid aside as unsuitable. 

27. The distance test is necessarily, to .a great extent, enforced by 


concentrating relief labour upon a comparatively 

small number of large works, and, until further 

instructions, this test may be deemed to be complied with when the 

labourer goes to professional agency works and performs . the tasks 

exacted there. 

28. The question whether persons are fitting objects for employ- 
ment upon relief works must be decided by the civil 

officers, who will refuse employment to all persons 
except those who are destitute. 

29. The civil officers will despatch such applicants for employment 
as they consider eligible with written duplicate 

nominal rolls, and the production of such rolls will 
be the authority to the Public Works Department officers to employ 
the persons named in them. The rolls shall specify the name and 
father's name and village of each person, and shall be dated, and shall 
bear the signature of the despatching officer. 

30. Where camps are necessary on works these camps will be 
under the charge of the Public Works officer direct- 

., 1 1 -n 1 .J Sanitary Preoantlona. 

ing the work, who will make arrangements, and 
enforce rules, for strict conservancy and sanitary measures, and select 
suitable persons from the relief coolies for the various duties of 
scavenging, water-drawing, &c. 

31. In transferring people to works at a distance exceeding ten 
miles, it will be necessary, under some circumstances, 

to pay them batta. The amount and nature of this 

batta will vary with local circumstances, but it should never exceed 

16 oz. of uncooked grain for each day's march. 

32. There will probably frequently be exceptional cases, arising on 
works, requiring special treatment. It is obvious 

that what may be sufficient for the vast majority 
may be unsuitable in quantity or quality in individual cases. Such 
cases, which will include also those of people arriving on the works 
worn out and in low condition must, as far as possible, be specially 
treated under medical advice ; and they may be fed in accordance with 
the scale laid down in G.O. No. 2,372, of July 24, 1877, for people 
under such treatment. The extra allowance must cease as soon as the 
person, in the opinion of the medical officer, regains strength. 

33. Persons not permanently incapacitated for labour will probably 
regain health, as soon as convalescent, more rapidly upon a relief work 
than amidst the surroundings of a relief camp. 

34. All labourers must be warned that they are liable to fine and 
dismissal from relief: but these punishments should 

«., ^"1 PunJahmenta. 

be enforced with care and judgment. 


35. Short work &om idleness should, in the first place, be met 

with a small fine, and a repetition of the offence 
should be punished with greater severity. But, 
until further orders, the effect of the fine in the case of weakly people 
must never be to reduce the wages of an individual upon professional 
agency works below civil agency work rate, nor to reduce those of 
an individual upon civil agency works below the relief house scale. 

36. Incorrigible idleness or insubordination on the part of persons 

in fair physical condition should be met by immediate 

37. Payments upon relief works must be made at least twice a 
Frequency of pay- week, and oftener if necessary. New arrivals should 

°*®°**- for the first few days be paid daily. 

CJiaritable Relief. 

38. All previous orders relating to gratuitous relief, so far as in- 
consistent with the following rules, are hereby cancelled. 

39. Belief officers will be appointed to the charge of one or more 
taluks, or parts of taluks, according to size and local circumstances. 

40. Their duties will be to supervise all relief operations within 
their charges except public works. Their especial duty is to see 
that the orders of Grovemment are strictly carried out ; that relief 
reaches all who need it; that waste, abuse, and fraud are prevented, 
and the utmost economy, consistent with due relief, enforced throughout. 

41. They are expected to be constantly on the move, and to vint 
the several villages and relief camps as frequently as possible and at 
uncertain times. 

42. They will furnish to the collector, every Saturday, information 
on the foUowing points :— 

(1) The number of cases in which relief has been granted, 

refused, or stopped. 

(2) Any case of flsilure of duty, inattention, or inefficiency on 

the part of any officer or servant. 

(3) The physical condition of the people generally on relief, 

whether failing, improving, or stationary. 

(4) They will submit any general remarks. 

43. Village relief shall be given either in the shape of cooked food 
or in money, according to the discretion of the collectors and local 
circumstances, and shall, subject to the provisions of paragraph 53, be 
confined to destitute resident villagers, who are house-ridden, or 
otherwise unfitted for, or incapable of, laboui*. This class will include 
such persons as are idiots, cripples, blind, or so old or decrepit that 


they are not able to support themselveB; or yonng children living 
with and wholly dependent on such persons ; women in an advanced 
state of pregnancy, or who have been recently confined ; and further, 
to qualify for this relief, these persons must be without well-to-do 
friends or relatives on the spot on whom their support would ordin- 
arily and rightly devolve. 

44. Immediately on the receipt of these orders, officers in charge of 
taluks shall cause each village to be inspected by an officer not below 
the rank of a village inspector, and after careful enquiry into the cir- 
cumstances of each individual case, shall strike off the register any 
persons who, from condition and circumstances, do not come within 
the above description. The relief officer in charge of a taluk, or part 
of a taluk, shall visit each village as early as practicable, and satisfy 
himself that his instructions have been properly carried out. No 
fresh admissions to the register shall subsequently be made, except 
under the orders of the village inspector, who, whenever he may 
authorise any such admissions, shall, in his next weekly return, report 
them to tlie taluk relief officer, who shall transmit an abstract showing 
increase or decrease of numbers in each village of his charge to the 
collector weekly, for preparation of the weekly tabular statement for 
Qovemment. The taluk officer shall take the earliest practical oppor- 
tunity of inspecting the persons who have been newly admitted. 

45. Persons, who under the operation of the above order are 
struck off the regu»ters of village relief, dball at the same time, if 
capable of labour, be sent to work, and if temporarily incapacitated 
by illness or any other cause, shall be sent to the nearest relief camp, 
to be there maintained and treated until able to work or found per- 
manently incapable. 

46. All open camps, other than works camps, shall be abolished, 
and in their place such number of closed camps as may be necessary 
shall be established. On this point collectors should at once take such 
steps as may be needed. 

47. Until further orders are published for the regulation and 
interior administration of closed relief camps, the arrangements now 
in force should continue; but it should be distinctly and clearly 
understood by the officers in charge that no person capable of labour 
should be received into a camp, and that, as soon as any inmate of 
such camp recovers strength and condition sufficient to enable him to 
tmdertake labour on professional agency works, he should at once be 
drafted off to such works, whiph should not be situated within ten 
miles of the village of which he is an inhaHtant. 

48. Officers in charge of camps will recollect that the primary 
object of the camp is that the strength of its residents should be 


restored therein, and that they may be thtia rendered fit for work. 
Food and shelter, hut no money payment, will be given therein. 
Camp diet is prescribed in G. O., July 24, 1877, No. 2,372 ; but all 
camps must be so divided as to render it impossible for those not 
actually requiring it to obtain the special diet allowance sanctioned 
for those under medical treatment. No person shall in any case be 
admitted to the higher scale of diet except under the written order of 
the medical officer of the camp. 

49. Collectors will take care and watch carefully the effect of 
relief operations, and if it should appear that any camp has a tendency 
to draw to it those who should be relieved in their villages, or any 
undue tendency is observed on the part of those on works to seek 
camp relief, the diet must be so adjusted in accordance with the dis- 
cretion given by the Gfovemment order referred to as to counteract 
such tendency. 

50. No outside relief shall be given at any closed camp. 

51. All able to work will at once be sent to a suitable relief work 
with a list as described in paragraph 29. In carrying out these in- 
structions, however, the officer will exercise a careful discretion in 
cases where husband or wife, mother or child, may be ill in camp, and 
should not enforce separation in such cases. Any able-bodied person 
so retained temporarily in camp will be required to do suitable work 
in or about the camp. 

52. The collector should keep superintendents of camps informed 
of all works in progress, and to what extent labour can be acoommo- 
dated on each work, and the order of the superintendent of the camp 
to the officer in ch surge of the work shall be sufficient authority to the 
latter to receive the persons who may be sent from the camp. 

53. Wanderers who present themselves at any village in a state 
of destitution shall be provided by the village head with one meal, 
i.e., 10 oz. grain, and he will be held strictly responsible that no 
person manifestly in need of assistance to prevent starvation shall 
remain unrelieved ; but such {lersons shall only i-eoeive one meal, and 
shall be passed on to the nearest relief camp where they shall receive 
support, or, if needed, medical treatment, or, if in a fit condition to 
support themselves by labour, be at once sent to suitable works. In 
special cases, where necessary, village heads may incur such charge as 
may be needed to convey to the nearest relief camp destitute persons 
who cannot travel. But whenever this is done an immediate report 
must be made to the village inspector. 

54. In laying out relief camps, sanitary requirements, especially 
position of hospital, water supply, and latrines, should be carefully 
attended to. 


55. With the exception of those in hospital, persons in relief 
camps ai'e not to be allowed to remain idle ; they must be employed 
in all the necessary duties of the camp, its conservancy, water supply, 
cookery, hospital attendance, dec, or in spinning, weaving, rope making, 
or other similar light work. No extra allowances are to be given for 
work performed in or about the camp. 

56. This order, except as regards scales of diet, does not apply to 
the Nilgiris district, in which the commissioner's arrangements to 
meet the special circumstances will continue in force subject to further 

(True extract.) 

(Signed) J. H. GARSTIN, 

Additional Secretary to Government. 

To the Board of Revenue. 

Financial Department. 

Public Works Department. 

Sanitary Commissioner. 

Surgeon-Greneral, Indian Medical Department. 

Commissioner of Police. 

Inspector-General of Police. 
To all Collectors. 






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The Mansion House Committee was composed as follows : — 

President and Treatwrer. 
The Right Hon. the Lord Mayor (Sir Thomas White). 


The Right Hon the Earl of Northbrook, G.C.S.I. 
Sir Nathaniel M. de Rothschild, M.P. 

las^^^"''-^-} (B-ingBros.) 

Sir Charles H. Mills, Bart., M.P. (Messrs. Glyn, Mills & Co.). 

Hugh M. Matheson, Esq. (Messrs. Matheson's). 

The Baron de Stem (Messrs. Stem Brothers). 

L. Hath Esq. (Messrs. F. Hath k Son). 

C. G. Arbathnot, Esq. (Messrs. Arbathnot, Latham k Co.) 

J. S. Morgan, Esq. (Messrs. J. S. Morgan k Co.). 

John Fleming, Esq., C.S.I. (Smith, Fleming & Co.), 

Francis W. Bazton, Esq. (Rresoott, Grote & Co.). 

Hon. Henry L. Bourke (Branton, Boorke & Co.). 

Henry Bayley, Esq. (P. & O. Company). 

S. P. Low Esq., J.P. (Grindlays & Co.). 

William Scott, Esq. (Binney k Co.). 

^'K^castle, Esq.} <Oomptoir d'Escompt*.) 

John Sands, Esq. (Frith, Sands k Co.). 

H. S. Cunningham, Esq., Advocate-General, Madras. 

John Pender, Esq., M.P., Eastern Telegraph Co. 

Samuel Morley Esq., M.P. (J. and R. Morley). 

Charles Teede, Esq. (Teede k Bishop). 

Mr. Alderman Sidney. 

P. Macfayden Esq., Madras (Arbuthnot k Co.). 

G. Parbury, Esq. (Messrs. W. Thacker k Co.). 

Mr. Alderman and Sheriff Hadley. 

Thomas Gray, Esq. 

J. H. Grossman, Esq., J.P. 

T. J. Reeves, Esq. (Dent, Palmsr k Co.). 

C. B. Dowden, Esq. 

Arthur T. Hewitt, Esq. 

George Arbathnot, Esq. 

George Smith, Esq. (Smith, Elder k Co.). 

J. N. Bnllen, Esq. 

Alderman Sir W. A. Rose. 

Alderman Sir R. W. Garden. 

F. W. Heilgers, Esq. 

General Sir Heniy W. Norman, K.tJ.B. 
W. R. Arbuthnot, Esq. 
W. Mackinnon, Esq. 
H. S. King, Esq., J J". 

Bon. Secretary. 
William J. Soulsby, Esq., Private Secretaiy to the Lord Mayor. 

Hon, Cathier, 

G. J. W. Winzar Esq« 

Messrs. Glyn, Mills, Carrie k Co., Lombard Street. 



{Fr<*m the Madrat l^mst, January 29.) 

The good people of Madras will have to carry their memories very 
far back to recollect an occasion when a public meeting held in the 
BanquetLng Hall was so numerously attended, so iniiuentially repre- 
sented, and accompanied by so much enthusiasm as that which took 
place last evening for the purpose of adopting resolutions conveying, 
on behalf of the people of Southern India, an expression of heartfelt 
gratitude for the sympathy and support nobly and generously accorded 
them by the people of Great Britain, her Colonies and India, in relief 
of the distress caused by the famine which has overshadowed the land 
throughout the last eighteen months. The meeting of yesterday 
evening was not only an assemblage of the people of Madras, but of 
the inhabitants of the whole of Southern India, the latter being re- 
presented by delegates fix>m most of the districts which had felt the 
severity of the famine ; and another characteristic and highly interest- 
ing feature of the occasion was the pleasing fact that the hall was 
graced by the presence of a large number of ladies, the gentle influence 
of several of whom had in no small way helped in mitigating the 
severity caused by the period of scarcity. His Grace the Duke of 
Buckingham and Ohandos received the delegates of the famine com- 
mittees of the districts of Southern India and the province of Mysore 
at Government House, where they were introduced to his Grace, and, 
accompanied by them, came to the Banqueting Hall precisely at half- 
past four o'clock. The hall at this moment presented an animated 
and interesting spectacle. It was crowded almost to overflowing, and 
the assemblage represented members of every section of the public. 
On the dais were accommodated his Grace the Chairman, the Ladies 
Grenville, the Members of Council, the several speakers, and the 
delegates from the District Committees, including the Rajah of Yen- 
catagherry, C.S.I., and Mr. Seshia Sastri, C.S.I. Among others pre- 
sent on the occasion were Lady Robinson, the Honourable D. F. 
Carmichael, Miss Carmichael, Colonel Michael, C.S.I., Mr. Tarrant, 
Mrs. Tarrant, the Rev. C. H. Dean, Mrs. Dean, Mrs. Digby, Mr. 
Thomhill, C.S.I., Mr. Ballard, Colonel Weldon, Mr. Campbell, the 
Honourable V. Ramiengar, C.S.I., Mr. Srinivasa Row, Mr. Run- 
ganadha MudaJiyar, Mr. Mahomed Yusuf Saib, and many others. 


Mr. W. W. MuNSiE, the Sheriff, read the following notice conven- 
ing the meeting : 

* We, the undersigned inhabitants of Madras, request that you will 
be so good as to convene a Public Meeting at the Banqueting Hall, 
on Monday, January 28, at 4.30 p.m., for the purpose of expressing 
the gratitude of the people of Southern India for the sympathy 
and liberality exhibited towards the famine-stricken population 
of India by their fellow-subjects in all parts of the British dominions. 

"We have the honour to be. Sir, your obedient Servants, 


C. R. Drury. C. A. Ainslie. 

Robert Stephenson. J. W. Mellis. 

T. E, Franck. V. Krishnama Chariar. 

H. R. Dawson. J. Cramp. 

Y. Yencatahramiah. C. Y. Cunniah Chetty. 

Mahomed Yusuf. G. Coopoosawmy Naidu. 

J. Higginbotham. L. R. Burrows. 

S. Fennelly. J. H. Taylor. 

J. G, Coleman. Robert B. Elwin. 

G. Bidie, M.B. Wm. Digby. 

Robert Orr. H. R. P. Carter. 

T. Ramachendra Row. P. Strinivasa Row. 

T. Weldon. P. Yiziarungum Mudaliyar. 

J. Colgan. Mohideen Sheriff Khan Bahaduc 
Ahmed Mohideen Khan Bahadur. W. Walker. 

C. A. Lawson. Frederick T Atkins.' 

Mr. Munsie added that the meeting was held in pursuance of the 
above notice. 

His Grace the Chaibman said : — * The notice the Sheriff has read 
explains fully the cause of the present meeting — to thank the people 
of England, of the Colonies, to thank all parts of the British Empire 
for the aid which was so promptly and so liberally afforded to 
Southern India in her hour of distress. That dark cloud of famine 
which has so long overshadowed Southern India has broken and is 
dispersed. Much distress has been relieved, the condition of the 
people is vastly improved, and although in many districts yet there 
are still recurrences of distress, shadows of clouds still undispersed 
passing over, yet all the returns show from month to month that 
distress even in those districts is lightening, that the worst is passed, 
and that we may look forward to being relieved from the anxiety 
under which we have so long lived, we may look to that being very 
speedily and entirely dispersed. Although the famine is passed, yet, 


as I said, much distress still remainSy and good work remains to 
be done with that remaining portion of the fund so liberally and 
munificently afforded by England's charity. Those who are address- 
ing you to-day, having taken an active part in the various districts 
in the distribution of the fund, know weU how great was the distress 
they had to meet, how vast would have been the calamity if that help 
had not been afforded to us throughout the length and breadth of the 
land. Those purposes which I ventured to shadow forth at the meetr 
ing in August, as purposes which needed a large and liberal charity 
to meet, to relieve those distresses that could not be brought under or 
met by Grovemment organisation or rule, have been found not less 
than I anticipated they would be found, requiring the aid of the large 
funds which have been given to this country for the purpose. I will 
not detain the meeting with any details. Many in this room know 
far better almost than Government the details of the distress which 
they had to deal with in their towns and in their villages, and I will 
not detain you longer than to call upon the Honorary Secretary, Mr. 
Digby, to read a statement of the operations of the committee. 

Mr. DiQBY said that five and a-half months ago, when the appeal 
went to England from that hall, the meeting which sent it was, neces- 
sarily, composed entirely of the citizens of Madras. There was not 
time to make it other than a town's meeting. On the present occa- 
sion, the meeting was representative of the whole Presidency, indeed 
of Southern India generally, for not only were there representatives 
present from the various local committees, but also a deputation from 
Mysore. Some local committees could not send delegates, but instead 
had written expressing their gratitude. He held in his hand a list of 
delegates and letters from committees. He would not read them to 
the meeting, but the document would be handed to the press for publi- 
cation. One or two letters, however, might be cited. After quoting 
two or three of the letters, the following document was laid on the 
table : — 

List of Delegates and Letters from Local Committees attending the 

PvMic Meeting on January 28. 

Adoni, — No members able to attend, owing to business and other 
engagements. Mr. Byramjee, Honorary Secretary, writes : — * The 
committee here humbly request the general committee to excuse 
them for their non-attendance, and at the same time beg leave to ex- 
press many thanks for the kindness shown by the British public 
towards their poor fellow-subjects of this country in their time of 


Amee, — lyaloo Naidu ; Akiland Aiyar. 

Bdlary, — Arthur Huson, Esq. ; Rev. E. Lewis ; M. Abraham, 
Esq. ; A. Sabapathy Mudaliyar, Esq. ; Custoori Chetty, Esq., and A. 
Sadasiva Fillai. 

ChingUput {and Saidapet) C&rUral Committees. — Mr. Barlow 
writes : — * I greatly regret that my revenue arrangements wiU, pro- 
bably, make it impossible for me to attend, as I am at present work- 
ing away from any line of railway, for as coUector — even more than 
as president of the Saidapet committee — I should have wished to 
express my thanks for British relief, especially as regards the allot- 
ments for agriculturists, which have enabled large numbers of petty 
holders to recommence cultivation, after eighteen months of famine, 
with something like a good heart.' 

Saidapet sends the following gentlemen : — George Duncan, Esq. ; 
A. M. Jones, Esq. ; Y. Bagava Charlu, Esq. 

Chimgleput — C. N. Overbury, Esq. ; C. Soondarum Mudaliyar ; 
2T. Bamakistna Aiyer; M. Coopoosawmy Naidu; P. Tharagaram 
Filial ; P. Strinivassa Aiyengar. 

Chitoor. — Thomas Stracey, Esq. ; V. Soondra Aiyer ; T. S. Nara- 
singa Bao. 

Coimbatore. — No members able to attend, owing to business 

Cuddalore, — 0. B. Irvine, Esq. ; Vencoba Charriar ; Bajarutna 
Mudaliyar, and Sadasiva Pillay. 

Dindigvl, — We are reminded that this is the date for your great 
public meeting at Madras, for the purpose of expressing the gratitude 
of the people of Southern India for the very kind and munificent 
assistance they have received from kind friends in England in this 
time of famine and distress. We regret that our committee cannot be 
represented at this meeting, in the object of which we feel so hearty 
a sympathy. But they desire me to express for them their own grati- 
tude, and that of the thousands and ten thousands in this district 
whose sufferings have been relieved by this most timely assistance. 
Words fiedl us in the attempt to express our appreciation of the kind- 
ness and love which have prompted this princely gift. It is hard to 
get an expression of feeling from this people, but they are not wholly 
insensible. This kindness astonishes them now, but for years to come 
it will be a lesson which cannot be lost upon them. 

Dindigtd, — The Rev. Louis St. Cyr, writing on January 24, 
says, 'Indeed England has given to the world the most splendid 
example of charity and generosity in the way she came to the assist- 
ance of the fiunine-stricken people in the Presidency of Madras. May 
God reward and bless her as she deserves ! I associate myself most 


cordially with Uie public meeting which is to be held in Madras the 
28th instant, being unable to be prenent on the occasion.' 

Erode. — Chinnamala Govindoo ; Gopaulasamy Naidu ; Abdul 
Kader Saib. 

Kodi Kcmal. — The Rev. J. T. Noyes, Honorary Secretaiy, writes : 
— ' I am very glad to hear that there is to be a meeting in the 
Banqueting Hall to express thanks. Nothing could be more appro- 
priate. It would give us great pleasure to attend. But I cannot, 
and I do not think any of our members can attend, unless Mr. Turner 
will go.' 

Kumool, — Feared no one can attend unless Mr. Latham, on his 
return from Coconado. 

OngoU, — ^Rev. J. E. Loughridge. 

Pulney, — ^The Honorary Secretaiy (Mr. Chandler) writes: — 
* We received your telegi-am in regard to the public meeting to be 
held on the 28th instant, and at our meeting held on Saturday last, 
as no one volunteered to go, we decided to send an united expression 
of our thanks, which you will receive in a day or two.' 

'Head and recorded telegram from Honorary Secretary, relief 
committee, Madras, requesting to know if any of the members of 
the Pulney relief committee would attend the meeting to be held 
at Madras on the 28th, for the purpose of drawing up an address 
thanking the people of England for their generous benefactions. 

* Resolved, — That the Honorary Secretary be requested to inform 
the Madras committee that the members of this committee severally 
and jointly regret their inability to attend the meeting in question. 

' Resolved also, — That an address be drawn up in the name of the 
people of Pulney taluk, thanking the people of England for their 
liberal charity in the time of great distress, and that the same be 
forwarded to the Madras conmiittee for transmission to the promoters 
of the Mansion House fund.' 

Pulney, January 26, 1878. 
Your telegram in regard to the public meeting, to be held on the 
28th, was received and read at the last meeting of our committee . 
No one has the leisure to accept the kind invitation. But though 
prevented by circumstances from being present in person, we must 
not fail to forward to you, and through you to the donors of the 
Mansion House fund, our sincere and most hearty thanks for the 
timely aid they have sent to the thousands of sorely distressed people 
of this taluk. 


We thank you in behalf of more than two thousand landholders 
who have been able by your aid to bring their fields under culti- 
vation during the recent rains, though in very many instances they 
had been compelled to consume their seed grain , using their farming 
utensils for fuel, and selling their ploughing cattle to keep themselves 

We thank you in behalf of the 12,000 poor, whom the pressure of 
famine and the severity of the rainy season had left roofless, and who 
are now able to secure some shelter. 

We thank you on behalf of more than 4,000 persons, most of 
them women, who could almost literally say, * We were naked and 
you have clothed us.' 

We thank you in behalf of the little children, many of whom 
would have been in their graves but for the 16,000 meals of good 
wholesome food they have taken in our day nursery. 

We thank you in behalf of more than 2,000 men, women, and 
children, who have been able to prolong their lives with the pittance 
given in the weekly money dole. And again we thank you in behalf 
of the 120 children of our orphanage who are thrown entirely upon 
our care. And we pray that the blessing of Him who is the Grod of 
the widows and of the fatherless children, and who has said, * Inas- 
much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these ye have done it 
imto Me,' may rest upon you, and abundantly reward you for your 
liberal, timely, and highly appreciated benefactions. 

Ranipett. — H. W. Bliss, Esq., B.A. ; H. M. Scudder, Esq.,M.D. 

Tripatore. — T. Misquita, Esq., District Munsif : Mr. Leonard, 
Police Inspector : M. R. Ry. Ananthram Aiyer ; Annamaly Chettiar ; 
Subba Row ; Mr. C. Soondrum, Evangelist, L.M.S. 

TinneveUy. — Telegram, 'Our members regret cannot attend 

Madura, — ^Ko member can attend from any of the committees in 
this district, but Mr. Lee- Warner, C.S., writes, * K it can be done by 
the president, on behalf of the whole area of country over which this 
grateful gift has been, and is being distributed, as president of the 
Ramnad relief committee, I venture to express the heartfelt thanks 
of the people of this estate.' 

The secretary of Madura committee writes : — ' I am desired to 
acknowledge the receipt through the collector of your telegram, dated 
16th instant, to the president of this committee, and in reply to 
inform you that the committee much regret that they are unable to 
send any of their members to represent them on this interesting occasion; 
all find their time fully occupied ; and that their official and private 
avocations will not just now allow leisure for a visit to Madras. I 


am at the same time to express the committee's grateful acknowledg- 
ments of the ready and liberal consideration which the general com- 
mittee has already given to their representation, and to assure you 
that, though unable to be present, they and this whole district will 
echo from the bottom of their hearts the resolutions in which your 
gratitude for the generous sympathy of the English people may find 

Tmdtva/num, — Eev. "W". H. Wyckoff. 

Trichinopoly, — A. Seshia Sastri, Esq., C.S.I. ; Periasami Muda- 
liyar ; Syed Khan Saib. 

Vellore. — Eev. J. Scudder, M.D. 

Salem, — Eev. G. O. Newport ; Dr. E. N. Manikum Mudaliyar. 

CuddapaJi. — This committee r^rets that none of their members 
will be able to attend the public meeting at Madras, and therefore re- 
solves that Messrs. N. Appa Eow, C. Chengal Eow, E. Eaghavandra 
Eow, T. N. Subba Eeddy, Grouse Sahib, and Hussain Saib be re- 
quested to form a sub-committee, to draw up a note of thanks in 
Telugu, to be forwarded to the general committse, Madras. 

TransUuion of Tdugu Note, 

To the GJeneraJ Committee of the Mansion House Fund, Madras. 

Gentlemen, — ^We are much rejoiced at the notice sent to us by the 
Committee of the Mansion House fund, informing us that a meeting will 
be held on the 28th of this month at Madras, to convey thanks to the 
most exalted Englishmen who have liberally contributed funds towards 
the maintenance of the sufferers from the famine. We are all desirous to 
attend the meeting, but regret very much that our business engage- 
ments and other circumstances will not permit us to do so. The 
country has suffered severely from a great famine for nearly two years, 
but the funds liberally contributed by the British nation have greatly 
helped the poor in procuring food, clothing, seed grain, and cattle, 
and in relieving the sick and the emaciated. We, therefore, on behalf 
of our brethren who have benefited by the relief fund, beg that our 
most grateful and heartfelt thanks be conveyed to the subscribers to 
the Mansion House fund. 

(Signed) N. Appa Eow. 

C. Chenoal Eow. 
E. Eaghavandra Eow. 
T. N. Subba Eow. 
G. GousE Sahib. 


Tanjore. — ^A. Seshia Sastri, Esq., C.S.I. The president, writes :— 
' You will have received a message that Mr. Seshia Sastri will represent 
the Tanjore committee ; though we are in such excellent hands, we must 
still regret that it is impossible that any member of our committee can 
be present on Monday. Mr. Subrahmanya Ayyar, who will repre- 
sent Tanjore, is in such poor health, I regret to say, that he feels 
unequal to the journey. The vice-president (the sub-judge) and 
myself are kept here by our heavy official work ; other members of 
the committee have not quite finished their circles, or do not know 
English. I much regret this, but trust that you will kindly explain, 
if necessary, how matters stand. Allow me, personally, to thank 
you for the ready answers you have always sent to my letters and 

{Telegrams from the Bishop of Coimbatore,) — Unexpectedly pro- 
vented from attending meeting. Bishop, clergy, congregation thank 
generous English people. 

Bishop Fennelly wrote : — * The Vicar Apostolic of Pondicherry, 
who regrets his inability to attend the meeting thiB evening, desires 
me to assure you that he and his clergy and congregations unite 
with the meeting in the expressions of heartfelt gratitude for the 
sympathy and assistance accorded by the people of Great Britain and 
other countries to the famine sufferers in Southern India.' 

Mr. DiGBT continued by saying : I have the honour on behalf of 
the general committee to lay the following statement before the 
meeting : — 

On August 4, a meeting was held in this hall to make an appeal 
to English charity on behalf of the famine-stricken people of India, to 
render such aid as it was beyond the province of Government to give. 
A committee of gentlemen was appointed, from whom, two days 
after, an executive committee was chosen ; an appeal was prepared 
by this committee to be sent to England and elsewhere. By the 
executive committee the work of distribution has mainly been 
carried out. 

The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Sir Thomafi White, at 
once organised a committee and opened a subscription list at the 
Mansion House ; meanwhile, the municipal bodies in Great Britain 
were communicated with. Separate funds were opened in Lancashire, 
Blackburn, Bradford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Greenock. In course 
of time the movement spread, and, either directly to the committee at 
Madras, or through the Mansion House, from all parts of the British 
dominions, from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, and other 
West India Islands, British Guiana, Mauritius, Ceylon, Gibraltar, 


Hongkong, the Straits Settlements, from English residents in con- 
tinental cities, Bengal and Burma — contributions flowed in, until, in 
November, the committee felt themselves in a position to say that the 
fund might be closed, as they had as much as they would be able to 
disburse. As soon as English feeling had been aroused, money flowed 
in very liberally, for two or three weeks; at the Mansion House alone, 
10,000Z. per diem was received. In the earlier days of the fund large 
sums, such as 500Z. from the Queen Empress, 500 guineas from the 
Prince of Wales, 1001. from the Princess of Wales, several donations 
of 1,000^. each from the Bank of England and City houses were chiefly 
received, but later on, the large stream of charity was made up of 
multitudinous sums, chiefly collections from workmen, schools, 
churches and chapels. All sects and creeds contributed, and the 
money has been equally disbursed, irrespective of caste or creed. It 
is impossible to estimate the number of persons contributing to the 
fund, but, bearing in mind the small sums which characterised con- 
gregational and similar collections, the total must represent several 
millions of individuals. An analysis of the Mansion House list, the 
only one received in entirety, has not yet been made— there has not 
been time for this ; but when it is done, it is believed that more than 
half, probably a good deal more, of the sum of 500,000Z. sterling, will 
be found to have been contributed in amounts of 61. and less. The 
sums received and promised from particular sources are as follows :— * 

Mansion House, London and Bradford .... 500,000 

Lancashire 75,932 

Edinburgh 20,000 

Glasgow 7,537 

Greenock 1,840 

Australia and New Zealand 100,000 

Other colonies (Mauritius, Hongkong, British Guiana, 

&c.) 5,400 

Inditk generally (Madras included) .... 20,000 


Besides this a special fimd was raised in the county of Buckingham, 
which has been entrusted specially to his Excellency the Governor, as 
Lord Lieutenant of that coimty. 

Whilst the sum .total of receipts at this stage (the various funds 
having closed) can be given with tolerable accuracy, only an approxi- 
mate analysis can be prepared of expenditure to the end of the year. 
Although some committees are closing operations, none have yet 
actually ceased to give relief. As is well known, considerable difficulty 
was experienced in the months of August and September in obtaining 


efficient distributing agency throughout the Mofussil, but these were 
surmounted, partly owing to the services of Grovemment officials being 
made available, and also to the success which attended the efforts of 
delegates sent by the executive to organise committees. Including 
local, sub, and taluk committees and individual agencies, more than 
150 bodies were in existence in November, and over one thousand 
Europeans, Eurasians, and native gentlemen have been engaged in the 
work of relief. Their labours have been unremitting and most zealous, 
and the thanks of this meeting and of the English subscribers are 
due for their labour bestowed and enei^ expended by them. Among 
the most valued agents of the committee have been the missionaries 
of all creeds, who have been, in many cases, the only available means 
by which the suffering could be reached. In some cases several 
months have been devoted exclusively to this work, and missionary 
agents have lived for weeks together among the people, travelling 
from village to village, personally enquiring into cases of distress, and 
relieving wants with their own hands. This, in fact, has been a 
characteristic of all the committees, and it is but just to remark that 
the magnificent money gift has been worthily equalled by unselfish 
hard work on the part of distributors of the fond. The money has 
been disbursed as follows : — 

To Madras city, for support and clothing, 1,69,000 rs. Many doles 
were given to caste and Gosha people who could not avail themselves 
of Government relief, and for partial aid to others not wholly destitute, 
in numbers varying from 5,940 on August 18 to 19,126 on November 
12, the numbers decreasing a few thousands subsequently, until they 
are now 12,154 adults and 4,072 children. Cloths to these were 
given at a cost of 23,790 rs. The need for this aid still continues, 
rice being stiU as high as 4 measures per rupee, each measure being 
about 3 lbs. in weight, about two and a -half times its nominal rate. 
This relief was disbursed by nine divisional committees, superintended 
by the town central committee. 

The district distributions are as follows : — 

North Arcot . 5,50,160 

South Arcot 2,51,650 

Bellary 5,73,000 

Chingleput . 4,26,000 

Goimbatore •. . 4,56,820 

Cuddapah 3,56,000 

Eistna . . 23,730 

Eomool 3,29,000 

Madras, for Day Nurseries, Orphanages, Friend-in- 

Need Society, and Town Relief, &c. .... 2,41,988 

Madura 3,70,450 


Malabar 17,400 

Neilgherry Hills 13,385 

Nellore 4,49,159 

Salem 6,29,650 

Tinnevelly 1,80,000 

Tricbinopoly and Tanjore 3,63,900 

Tiavanoore 5,000 

Yizagapatam 2,000 

In addition to the above^ and minor sums, 16^ lakhs have been 
sent to Mysore, and 80,000 rs. to Bombay, and some to Central India. 

At present particulars from these places which have been promised 
have not been received, and it is difficult to say how many persons 
have received relief and in what form. As regards our own com- 
mittees we can give an approximate idea of what had been done with 
the money sent to them prior to the end of the year, but in quoting 
the following figures it must be remembered they are greatly within 
the mark, and founded on as yet incomplete examination of the 
voluminous retiuns received. 

Eelief has been afforded under seven heads, and to the number of 
people mentioned, viz. (the figures for Madras being already given, 
are not repeated here) : — 

Food, money doles, out-door relief, &c., namely. . 10,00,000 

Orphanages (about) 10,000 

Day Nurseries 75,000 

Clothing 1,14,413 

Houses repaired or rebuilt 31,824 

Agriculturists helped with seed grain, bullocks, &c . 1,39,650 

Miscellaneous charity , • 17,936 

Under the last heading is included substantial help to weavers and 
similar classes, who have been helped to redeem their looms, and to 
commence work. This, however, has only been done in an incidental 
way. Testimony from all quarters is unanimous as to the great good 
which has been done by the relief funds, and though here and ^ere 
cases of peculation have been reported, compared with the vast sums 
disbursed they were exceedingly few. Close personal attention on the 
part of individual members of committees has alone secured this 

An mterim balance sheet made up at the end of the year shows 
the cost of managing the fund to that date. From this it appears 
that the total expenditure in the central office, including telegrams 
(the largest item), printing, <fec., was rs. 25,315-13-9. The details are 
as follows : — 


B8. a. p. 
Postages 1,024 16 6 

Printing (maps included) 3,662 7 

Establishment ...... 342 8 

Office furniture, stationery, telegrams, &c. . 10,714 4 6 

Charges on specie, remittance and bill stamps . 2,381 10 9 

Honorarium and travelling expenses to dele- 

irates . . 6,800 

Total . . . 24,416 13 9 
Grants and allotments to date, as per weekly 
statements 64,47,693 

64,72,108 13 9 
To balance . . 10,32,276 6 7 

Grand total . . 76,04,386 3 4 

Assuming that when all the remittances are received and brought 
to account the sum will amount to more than 80,00,000 rs., and takinj? 
into consideration the expenses of all the local and sub-committees 
the executive hope to be able to show working charges of less than 
one per cent, upon the sum entrusted to them. If this can be 
accomplished, subscribers will have the satisfaction of knowing that 
their generous donations have been disbursed with the minimum of 
attendant expenditure. 

Afl has been alr^y remarked, this is but an inierim statement. 
When, happily, the time shall come that no further need for its efforts 
exists, the general committee will be prepared to render a full account 
of their stewardship, and trust it will be found that they have wisely 
disbursed the large sums which were committed to their charge to 
alleviate the misery of their fellow-subjects in this land. 

[The following facts from the honorary secretary, general com- 
mittee, Friend-in-Need Society, were forwarded, for inclusion in the 
statement given above : — 

As requested by the Friend-in-Need Society special relief commitr 
tee, I annex certain items of information which you might perhaps 
deem proper to mention at the public meeting on Monday. 

862 persons of the more respectable class of Europeans and East 
Indians, who felt the pressure of the famine, but could not be 
expected to go to the feeding houses, were assisted with money doles 
ranging from 3 to 10 rs., according to circumstances. 

Of the pensioners of the socie^ who did not attend the feeding 
dep6ts, there were 12 with families who received r. 1-8 each per 
mensem, and 73 without families on 1 r. 

The average number fed daili/ was : — 

Adults 1^978 

Children 260 


These were further assisted pecuniarily — those with families r. 1-8 
each, and without families 1 r. per mensem. 

Clothing was also distributed at the setting in of the oold season 
to those receiving food, and to the society's pensioners with their 
families. The number clothed was : — 

Men 767 

Women 1,014 

Boys 290 

Girls. 283] 

Mr. A. SssniA Sastri, C.SJ., proposed the first resolution, which 
was: — 

* That this meeting desires to convey, on behalf of the people of 
Southern India, an expression of heartfelt gratitude for the sympathy 
and support so nobly and generously accorded them by the people of 
Great Britain, her Colonies, and India, in relief of the distress caused 
by the famine which has overshadowed the land throughout the last 
eighteen montlffi.' 

In moving the resolution, Mr. Seshia Sastri spoke as follows : — 

Famines are not new to the world, especially to tropical countries 
and countries bordering on the tropics, only their occurrence at long 
intervals renders them unfamiliar to us. Famine and flood, pestilence 
and plague, storms and storm-waves, have been from earliest times 
phenomena regarded as signs of Divine wrath, because their appear- 
ance is sudden, their effects are terrible, their causes are mysterious, 
and the course of their destruction swift and irresistible. And it is 
a strange fact that countries reputed as the granaries of the world 
have not been spared from famines ; for the earliest famine, for which 
we have the authority of sacred history, as we all may be reminded, 
was that which occurred in Egypt during the reign of the Pharaohs, 
and in which Joseph, the wise and discreet officer, played so con^ 
spicuous a part, and who, warned beforehand, 'gathered com as the 
sand of the sea very much, imtU he left numbering — ^for it was without 
number.' India has been the scene of many famines — ^some of them, 
if tradition may be relied on, of 12 years' duration — and not a few 
have been eaqwrienced in our own Presidency. They were, however, 
local, confined to one or two tracts at a time, where they have left to 
this day indelible marks of the destruction caused in the shape of 
whole villages depopulated and now overgrown with jungle, as may 
be met witili notably in the upland taluks of the late Masulipatam 
and Guntoor districts. Whole colonies of people driven by former 
famines may be met with in the present day, scattered and settled far 
away from their homes. Thus a colony of Tamil Brahmins driven 
from Tanjore have been settled for centuries in the Godavery delta ; 


soyersl coloDies of Teliiga Brahmins driven by famines with which 
their country was visited oftener than others, have settled themselves 
in Southern Tamil districts. Colonies from Madura have been for 
centuries settled in Tanjore. Again, several successive waves of 
famine emigrants fit-om the ancient Pandian Kingdom (Madura and 
Tinnevelly) may be traced, at this day, settled on the favoured Mala- 
bar coast, where famines are unknown ; and, in our time, we have had 
the Orissa famine, the Ganjam famine, and the Bengal famine, none 
of which, however — thanks to the Government under which we live, 
and to modem commerce — ^has displaced and permanently scattered 
the population from their homes. But so far as could be judged 
without historic data, and at this distance of time, no former famine 
appears to have been so wide-spread and to have threatened the simul- 
taneous annihilation of such a large portion of the population as the 
present one, out of which, let us trust, we are just emerging, under the 
mercy of God. So fresh must be the occurrences connected with the 
present famine in the memory of those assembled here, that I must 
not take up their time with reciting them. The &.ilure of the early 
rains in 1876 was so serious and the loss of crops so great, that a 
great scarcity of food, indicated by high prices, was the first feature 
which presented itself. But, accustomed to high prices, year after year, 
for a series of years, our minds were unprepared for an approaching 
famine, and it was not till the utter failure of the north-east monsoon 
(November 1876) that we realised our dangerous position and stood 
face to face with a famine which threatened to be extraordinary 
in magnitude and severity. The lives of a population of 18 millions 
(180 lakhs) in 11 out of the 20 districts of this Presidency, of three 
millions in Mysore, and of many millions within the limits of the 
Bombay Presidency were in jeopardy. It was not easy to tell what 
food there was in the country. It was consequently impossible to say 
how much was required from without to supply the deficiency. The 
local Government, however, doubled and radoubled its efibrts in every 
direction. Belief works were planned and multiplied to enable the 
able-bodied poor to earn a subsistence. Belief camps were opened 
at convenient centres for the preservation, by actual feeding, of the 
lives of those who were too weak, by age or sickness, to work and 
earn their bread. A system of relief by village money doles was also 
afterwards resorted to, to save from death the aged and infirm stQI 
left at home. But on the sufficiency and rapidity of the supply of 
food, from abroad or from available local markets, and on the proximity 
to the scenes of actual distress to which it was possible to convey that 
food, depended the safety of millions. This necessity fully recog^. 
nised, no exertions were spared (and we all know how much we are 


indebted to the personal exertions of his Grace the Governor in this, 
among other directions) to expedite and facilitate the supply of food, and 
the carrying-power of the railway was tried to the utmost possible limit, 
while the ocean-borne trade proved fully equal to the emergency. The 
Crovemment of India, on their part, lost no time and spared no pains to 
help, combine, and concentrate all available carrying-power in the Em- 
pire. Some idea of the stupendous character of the operations which 
taxed the minds of our rulers may be formed by noting a few facts. 
1^ million tons of food-grains, valued roughly at 22^ crores of rupees, 
sufficient at a low calculation to support 7^ millions, 75 lakhs of 
people, for 12 months, were carried by the railway into the Presidency 
and Mysore. The State famine expenditure may be taken at four 
crores, to which one crore for Mysore, and another crore provided by 
the English and Indian charity, being added, we have a total expen- 
diture of six crores. The support of a million of population cost 
roughly 2^ crores of rupees. The six crores of money spent must 
have saved 21 millions of people. The highest number on relief (in 
September 1877) was a little over two millions (21 lakhs), and five 
millions of people must have also absolutely perished, even if they 
had the money, if they had not the food brought' to them by the ocean 
and the railways. Or, in other words, 7^ millions (76 lakhs of people), 
equivalent to 35 per cent, of the population of the famine district, 
must have inevitably perished, but for the presence of a mighty 
commerce, a gigantic carrier in the railway, and a powerful and 
humane Government which would not count the cost in saving people 
from death by starvation. At this period of the year, December 1876 
to April 1877, no other field for the employment of able-bodied labour 
was open than public works. The cyclonic rains in April, May, and 
June 1877, which tempted many to plough and sow, proved delusive 
— for the results of that cultivation were, as we all know, disastrous 
— and people were again thrown back on the hands of the State— on 
public works, and on feeding camps. The failure of another south- 
west monsoon thus added a sad gloom to the already deplorable aspect 
of affidrs. The money of the Exchequer was well-nigh exhausted, 
and borrowed money was running out at the rate of 50 lakhs per 
mensem. But in spite of the unremitting supply of food the con- 
dition of the distressed people was growing worse and worse, and as 
one rainless day succeeded another, and prices were rising with unre- 
lenting steadiness, hope was vanishing and dumb resignation to an 
inevitable fate was taking its place. The actual condition of the 
people at this time, and indeed for several months past, was one of 
sore distress. Its worst features were, the high prices which still 
kept food inaccessible to many ; there was no water to drink, no fodder 

e e2 


for the cattle; the cattle indeed had heen let loose in hnndreds and 
thousands ; the aged and young were succumbing in large numbers to 
starvation and to disease generated by the famine ; the thatch on the 
roof of the huts had been taken ofif to feed the cattle. People in 
thousands, nay hundreds of thousands, abandoned their homes and 
lands to earn a precarious subsistence on public works, or for a scanty 
meal in the feeding camps, stiU wearing the very clothes, now reduced 
to the last rags, in which they had left their homes, the females laden 
with baskets on their heads, containing pots and cocoa-nut-shell spoons, 
their all in the world — and the males, laden with their children, now 
so starved as to be * spectres unto their own parents.' Some lived on 
roots, leaves, on the seed of the grass, on the bark of trees ; others on 
' the plantain root and on the plantain stem, and even on the tender 
stalk of the screw-pine ; others again found a meal on the berries of 
the prickly-pear, on tamarind seeds, on the fruit of the banian and the 
fig ; while others, in the vicinity of forests, lived for weeks on the 
seed of the bamboo, and it was not rare to find children kept alive on 
bran ! The distress was not confined to the agriculturists. The poor 
among all other industrial classes, and notably among them the 
weavers, suffered distress even more severe, because less accustomed 
to. The curse of famine indeed threatened to 'consume the land. 
Rain still held off, and ajffairs became more grave than ever. At this 
juncture the Viceroy visited some tracts of the famine country. 
More public works and more agency to work them, more feeding 
camps and more agency to superintend them, were devised and brought 
to tell on the alleviation of distress. At about this time (end of 
August 1877) came symptoms of appn^aching monsoons, and cast a 
ray of hope on the gloomy picture. But what were the helpless 
people to do even if rain came, was the question which vexed the 
anxious thoughts of many, and among them his Grace the Qovempr. 
At the meeting of August 1877, his Grace very truly said, 'When 
they return to their houses from the relief camps or public works they 
will have to go to a roofless house, with not a single culinary vessel 
remaining in it.^ To provide clothing, even such scanty clothing 
as this climate necessitates — to enable them to repair their huts — ^to 
purchase new implements to replace those sold for bread — here were 
needs sufficient to justify a call on public charity.' It was consequently 
resolved to appeal to the charity of England and her Colonies, and of 
India also. The appeal was made in no faltering voice, or by a 
voice unfam il iar to the English nation. It was at once responded to, 
and in a manner without parallel even in a country proverbial for the 
munificence of its charities. The results have been just placed before 
us by the honorary secretary. The charity flowed in a continued 


stream till arrested, when a Bum of 82 lakhs of rupees had heen 
reached. The administration of these charity funds was wisely 
entrusted to a central committee composed of a mixed a^ncy of 
officials and nonK>fficials, merchants and missionaries, and Christians, 
Hindoos, and Mussulmans, and presided over by the Honourable Sir 
William Bobinson, a gentleman who has spent a life-time among us, 
and to whom no comer of our Presidency is unknown, and who is 
familiar with the condition and wants of every district, and of the 
people of every portion of it. The central committee in its tiu*n 
organised local committees of elements similarly composed for each 
famine district, and they, in their turn, formed sub-local committees, 
equally and even more representative in character. Individual 
agencies, consisting of ladies and gentlemen, who volunteered their 
services, were also largely employed, and by October 1877 all these 
various agencies, to the number of upwards of 120, were at full work 
and fiill of enthusiasm and zeal. The actual detail and modus 
operatidipi relief work were wisely (thanks to Mr. Thomhill) left to 
the discretion of the local committees ; and at a sufficiently early date 
(thanks to Mr. Ballard) a most useful and practical direction was 
emphatically given for the employment of the larger portion of the 
fund towards helping the agricultural classes and in forwarding 
agricultural operations, so necessary to the return of prosperity to the 
commonwealth, for it has been truly said by a well-known poet : — 

Princes and lords may flourish or may fade, 
A breath can make them as a breath has made, 
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride, 
When once destroyed can never be supplied. 

It pleased God at this time (end of August and September) to send 
us rain, and the transactions of the genei'al committee teem in every 
page with testimony, from every direction, of the immense good and 
the variety of good which has been accomplished with the help of 
theii' money. But though I feel that I am unduly taxing the 
patience of my audience, I cannot refrain from reading a few extracts 
from reports already in the annals of the committee, explaining the 
direct effect of relief operations with the English charity. Mr. 
Webster reports : — * Our attention has been directed to the condition 
of the better classes of cultivators, those who, in ordinary years, 
had some small capital and are well-to-do. Many of them are now 
paupers, who prefer to run the chances of dying by inches at home 
rather than seek aid on Government relief works — a kind of assistance 
which they regard with no more favour than a respectable English- 
man shows to the workhouse. To people of this class, all Government 


schemes of relief are and must be practically useless, but the assistance 
which the famine relief committee has been able to afford has been 
received most thankfully, as it has not only enabled people to tide 
over the present time of dearth, but has encouraged them to look 
forward to an early reaping of crops grown on lands that must have 
remained waste had there been no relief funds.' Mr. Sheristadar 
Puttabluram Pillay's report: — *The rains of September, however, 
have brought these people back (from relief works and camps) to their 
fields, and revived the hopes of others who still stack fast to their 
homes and fields, contending against all odds of the famine, but they 
were without means to plough their fields. They struggled hard, 
mortgaged a portion of their lands, raised a small sum and attempted 
cultivation. But the means they got were very insufficient ; cultiva- 
tion was therefore indifferent, but yet they could not bring themselves 
to abandon the young crops for relief works again. Kor had they 
the means of eking out a subsistence, except the wild-grown greens 
which the late rains had produced. Their huts were in ruins and 
afforded them no shelter. Their cloths were all rags ; most of them 
were next to nakedness. It was while they were in this miserable 
state that the Mansion House relief reached them. On the receipt 
of the relief money, which was always paid in a lump sum, many 
crowds of ryots went in to purchase seed paddy, seed ^rain, and 
seed cumbu. Others set about to patch up their ruined huts, others 
ploughed their waste fields and sowed, or prepared seeds, beds for rice 
cultivation under tanks now full with water. The cloths distributed 
were of the utmost service: the people prized them much. The 
feeling of gratitude of these poor people for the English charity 
money that came to their help at this crisis cannot adequately be 
expressed.' Another agent of the committee, speaking about the 
distribution of cloths, says that * the females for want of clothing 
were ashamed to go out to their usual work on the fields*, but when 
the cloths were distributed, the next day the fields were alive with 
them.' Belief was peculiarly seasonable and valuable to another sec- 
tion of respectable people, the Gosha women, Mussulman, Mahratta, 
and Bajpoot. This portion of the duty fell exclusively to my lot and 
that of my fiiend, Periasami Mudaliyar, head of the native community 
of Trichinopoly, who is now here by my side. Living in secluded 
nooks and comers of a large town, and remote from observation and 
sympathy, these were slowly passing away, dragging on a miserable 
existence, and many among whom would surely have fallen victims 
to starvation but for the aid from English charity which was put into 
their hands with our own at their own doors. I have but one picture 
more t